First taste of flavors

Did you know that during pregnancy your baby can taste what you eat? Now, on today’s in-utero menu…

You may think your baby will have no concept of taste until he takes his first swallow of milk, or perhaps even when you start him on solid foods. But you may be surprised to learn that he will have experienced his first flavors as early as 13 weeks from conception, when his taste buds started to develop.

From 11 weeks your baby will learn how to swallow, and begin to gulp mouthfuls of the amniotic fluid that surrounds him in the uterus. The composition of amniotic fluid changes during the first trimester from a primarily water-based solution, similar to blood plasma, to one containing nutritional substances including carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, which contribute to his healthy growth and development.

A baby will ingest significant quantities of this fluid each day, not only for hydration and nutrition, but also to practice the essential skills of swallowing and digesting. However, the amniotic fluid actually carries a discernible flavor, one that changes according to the foods eaten by the mother.

So, once your baby’s taste buds are sufficiently developed, he will be able to taste different flavors within the fluid, all influenced by the foods that you eat yourself. The taste receptors that form on the baby’s tongue develop quickly, as do the corresponding receptors in the nasal passages, providing a way for the baby to sense the fluid’s taste and, crucially, its smell.
It is believed that as much as 90 percent of a human’s sense of taste is actually influenced by the smell receptors, and therefore it is the strongly flavored foods, such as spices, that are most readily conveyed to your baby. Why not test this theory yourself?

If you eat some spicy or pungent food and wait for about two hours, which is the time it takes for the flavor to reach the amniotic fluid, you might feel your baby respond, perhaps by hiccupping—you’ll feel them as small, regular spasms—or even by wiggling around more than usual.

On the other hand, your baby might be disappointingly unresponsive! Either way you don’t need to worry, strong flavors won’t distress your baby, they just help to provide him with more varied sensations to prepare for life on the outside.
In fact, researchers have noted that babies who are exposed to certain tastes in the uterus are more eager to eat foods with that same flavor once they have been born.

A study conducted by researchers in Philadelphia examined a group of pregnant women by dividing them into three groups : one group drank a glass of carrot juice four times a week during pregnancy, and then switched to drinking just water once the babies had been born and were breast-feeding.
The second group drank water during pregnancy and switched to carrot juice while they were breast-feeding. The last group avoided carrot juice entirely.

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