Previous studies have indicated that people’s food preferences can be set before birth and are also influenced by the mother’s diet. However, according to its author, the new research is the first to focus on the reactions of unborn children to different tastes.
The authors of the study in the professional journal Psychological Science stated that even the amniotic fluid is susceptible to toxins that come from the mother’s diet. Babies are able to detect chemical substances related to taste from the 14th week of pregnancy, and odor molecules can be perceived from the 24th week of pregnancy.
In order to find out whether the fetus can distinguish a specific taste, the team of scientists examined the ultrasound images of a team of seventy pregnant women between the ages of 18 and 40 from the north-east of England, who were divided into two groups.
One group had to eat a capsule with spring cabbage twenty minutes before the ultrasound scan, and the other group had to eat a capsule with spring carrot. All women were instructed not to eat anything else for an hour before the scan.
The researchers also examined images of tens of women from the archive, who were not given the capsule day. He then analyzed a whole series of different movements of the fetus, including combinations that resembled laughter or crying, frame by frame. In total, the researchers examined 180 images of 99 fetuses that were scanned at either the 32nd week of pregnancy, the 36th week, or both.
The authors of the study found, among other things, that the fetuses had a stroke similar to that of the fetus twice as often when the mother consumed a capsule of cabbage compared to a capsule of carrots or without a capsule. However, when the mother ate a carrot capsule, the unborn children smiled twice as often as not when she swallowed a cabbage or gout capsule.
Study co-author Benoist Schaal of the Center for Disease and Food Breeding at the University of Burgundy said the clarity of the result was surprising. The mother hasn’t finished eating, and the fetus is able to perceive what she has eaten, she said.
His colleague Beyza Stnov added that her team is now trying to investigate the reactions of children to different tastes after birth. We hope to see fewer negative reactions if they were exposed to cabbage prematurely, she said.
According to the researchers, the study could provide a useful way to talk to pregnant women about what they eat. We know from other research that if the mother has a varied diet, such as vegetables, fruits and so on, the children are much less picky, said Nadja Reisslandov, who participated in the study.