Maternal Resources

Babies Can See Face Features While in the Womb

While pregnant, you can’t help but wonder what your baby is up to. Researchers alike have been wondering the same thing and trying to fill in the gaps in our knowledge of what babies feel, taste, hear and see in the womb. If you’re an expecting mother, this new research scientists recently discovered will surely spark your interest.

Babies can actually recognize faces while still in the womb. Scientists at Lancaster University recently found that babies in the womb show their heads turning towards shapes that resemble faces but when they see a random shape, they ignore it. This new finding suggests that the instinct to recognize facial features develops before a baby has even seen its first face.

It’s encouraged to start interacting with your baby while you’re in the third trimester since your baby can hear very well by then. You and your spouse should read books out loud to one another to help bond with the baby since the baby’s senses are already well developed.

What did the research consist of?

Researchers shone dots of light that were arranged to look like eyes and a mouth of a human face through the wall of the uterus of 39 expectant mothers who were eight months pregnant. The study showed that when the face-like image was shown through the uterus, the babies turned their heads to look at it. Although the vision of the fetus is blurry, it’s fascinating that they prefer to look at face features more than anything else and can distinguish between different shapes before entering into the world. A big part of being able to recognize facial features is the way the light falls in the womb. The findings suggest that exposure to light while in the womb could be just as important to the development of our eyes as it is after we are born.

This compelling study is published in the journal Current Biology if you’re interested in more specifics. Whether you are expecting or recently had a baby, now you know what your baby has been up to. If you are planning for a pregnancy, contact Mindful Midwifery so we can help you and your family throughout pregnancy and birth.