A study by researchers at Durham University has found that babies in the womb express different facial expressions due to various smells and tastes.
Scientists studied the ultrasound scans of pregnant women from the North East of England and found that babies exposed to kale flavours pulled a crying expression. They compared this to another group of pregnant women, who were asked to take a capsule of powered carrots and a group of 30 women who were given no capsules.
Results found that foetuses showed a crying expression when they absorbed their mothers' bitter flavour of kale, compared to smiling when absorbing carrots. This study was the first to see the reactions before birth, whereby the findings could help understand the development of human taste and smell receptors.
Beyza Ustun, the author of this research study, said that "a result of repeated exposure to flavours before birth could help to establish food preferences post birth… which could potentially lead to the avoidance of 'food fussiness' when weaning".
The work provided has set out a new dimension into the chemosensory world of the human foetus and is significant for the future of mothers' dietary habits.