What does the fetus feel inside the belly?

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Philippe Gloaguen
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What does the fetus feel in the belly

What does the baby feel in the mother's belly? And how do the various sense organs develop during the nine months? All mothers expecting a baby ask: will the little one hear my voice? Do you see the light that filters through? Will he get the flavors of what I eat?
So many questions that deserve an answer.
Let's try to give it.

The fetus perceives sensations and stimuli from the first weeks of pregnancy, a universe of perceptions which gradually becomes less and less confused as pregnancy progresses and the development of the nervous system.

The sense of touch

It is the sense that develops first, already around the eighth week the receptors situations in the epidermis and the nerve pathways that transmit the information of touch to the brain develop. The first receptors develop near the mouth and after around the 12th week they extend to the face, hands, feet and finally all over the trunk. At 20 weeks they are present all over the body and mucous membranes.


In the beginning, the vestibular system, it is a very important sense, the one that allows you to maintain balance and is located inside the ear. The vestibular system is perfectly complete and functional around the sixth month of pregnancy. The auditory system begins to develop around the sixth week and progresses all the time. Over the course of 40 weeks, the fetus begins to perceive a universe of less and less confusing sounds. There mom's voice it is his favorite (talk softly and often with the baby in the belly), but the father's tone of voice, lower and quieter, relaxes him. In addition, the mother's heartbeat, her breath, the gurgling coming from her stomach make up a sound universe that accompanies the baby in prenatal life until birth.

Some studies have also shown that listening to the rhythm ofl heart rate of the mother to the newborn has a relaxing and reassuring function, precisely because it evokes in his memory the memory of the serenity of intrauterine life. Furthermore, some research has shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that the fetus around the twenty-eighth week reacts to sudden noises and strong auditory stimuli, but also to soft music.


The taste bud ei receptors localized on the tip of the tongue and on the edges they begin to develop around the 12th week. The baby perceives the different flavors not because the foods eaten by the mother reach her mouth directly, but because as the fetus develops, the chemical mechanism linked to the presence of receptors sensitive to specific liquid or gaseous molecules. What is certain is that the baby begins to get used to the mother's food habits because what the mother eats changes the composition of the amniotic fluid and therefore the olfactory and gustatory stimuli that reach the baby.


The fetus in the nine months of pregnancy

Photos of the fetus during the nine months of pregnancy


Also as regards the sense of smell, it is an important stimulus because the mother's diet affects thesmell of amniotic fluid, and this allows the child to recognize the familiar smells, typically linked to the mother's habits, and to find his points of reference. This also explains why immediately after birth, the newborn is able to follow the sense of smell to reach the mother's breast, a source of nourishment and reassurance and characterized by a very personal smell. The first smell receptors develop around the ninth week, with the formation of the olfactory nerves and bulbs.


The sight mechanism is quite complete around the sixth month of life, but until the 26th week the eyelids remain closed. Some studies have shown, with the help ofultrasound, that by projecting a strong beam of light on the mother's belly, the fetus has a very significant reaction (turns its head or winces). However, vision will not be improved until a few weeks after birth. It is well known that at birth the newborn is unable to see clearly, even if he recognizes the face and features of the mother at a distance of 20 centimeters.

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