Pregnancy is undoubtedly one of the most amazing experiences in any woman’s life and it is even more exciting for those going through it for the first time. A woman looks forward to experiencing all those body changes, feelings, and movements that she has read about or others have told her about, especially if she is a first-time mom. Second-time moms are also full of nostalgia as they go through pregnancy all over again.
However, moms are not the only ones who get to have first time experiences, since the baby growing in them is also aware of the activities going on around him or her. Most critical organs normally develop within the first trimester and although they may not be mature enough to carry out their functions properly, they are still able to perceive some sensations.
The eyes can react to light, the ears can hear sounds, and the baby can smell and taste the surrounding amniotic fluid. In addition, the fetus can react to touch, different temperatures outside the womb, and respond to many other stimuli in mom’s environment.
Depending on what it is that he or she would feel, the baby can either kick mum slightly or make sudden vigorous movements that can even make mom uncomfortable. Therefore, mom should always keep in mind that the little one growing inside her is as much alive as she is and is aware of their environment.
Here are 20 things that a baby growing in the womb feels.
20 When Mom Is In The Bathroom
A mom-to-be feels like taking a bathroom break every few minutes during the third trimester, which is not very exciting. Having to do it every other minute and more so at night is not fun. This may come as a surprise to some, but unborn babies also urinate while still in the uterus.
According to Mental Floss, by week 12 of the gestation period, the little one can begin to produce urine. The unborn baby takes in the amniotic fluid, digests it and it goes to the kidneys, which filter it according to FirstCryParenting. Finally, the little one expels the fluid back to the uterus and the process repeats itself.
19 When Mom Is Under A Lot Of Stress
Emotions shape the way the baby thinks, feels or behaves later on in life. When expectant mothers take care of their emotional health, this can have good benefits for both mother and child in the end. However, it is common for both parents to struggle with their emotions during pregnancy due to a variety of reasons. Although it is normal for new parents to feel stressed out and confused, moms should try to keep themselves from stressing over anything.
Emotions like stress and anxiety in any mother can increase stress hormones in her body, which can travel to the baby in the womb. They can also affect the baby’s developing body and brain and the child might end up with behavioral problems later on in life, as claimed by Pregnancy Birth Baby.
18 Bright Lights
A baby may start opening his or her eyes from week 20 to around week 22, according to Pregnancy Birth Baby but their vision is normally blurry during this stage. Being inside the womb, she may see little to nothing, but as she nears the second trimester, she will begin responding to light.
When mom goes to brightly lit places, it can penetrate through mom and get to the baby. Getting outside is often encouraged as it can help the little one’s eyes develop and lower the risk of eye problems. Light cannot affect the baby negatively, but he or she may try to turn away from it if it is too bright.
17 Being Around Smoke
Surrounding yourself around smoke is an absolute no-no while a mom is pregnant. That kind of atmosphere increases stress hormones in an unborn child due to the toxins in it and this, in turn, affects the baby’s overall development. Furthermore, sticking with vices while pregnant can increase the risk of having a premature baby, as claimed by WebMD.
Depending on the individual, vices can be very addictive, which means babies born in these environments may have similar problems. Doctors advise moms-to-be who enjoy their vices to quit as soon as they find out they're pregnant.
16 When Mom Is Having A Warm Bath
Although taking a bath when pregnant is completely harmless to the unborn baby, moms must be very careful with regard to the water temperature, according to Verywell Family. During the first trimester, any water above the expectant mother’s body temperature can cause stress to the little one, particularly because the high water temperature also increases the mom’s normal body temperature. This, in turn, cuts back fluid flow to the baby and makes the baby stressed.
However, taking a warm bath can be soothing and relaxing for both mom-to-be and her unborn baby. The water can also act as pain relief, which is one of the reasons some mothers use water baths to relieve their pain during childbirth.
15 When Mom Is Falling Into Depression
Women are more at risk of falling into depression during pregnancy for a variety of reasons. Some even undergo depression the weeks and months after childbirth, according to Caring for Kids. During pregnancy, hormonal changes can affect brain chemicals in the expectant mother and cause her to be depressed and anxious.
Oftentimes, pregnant women do not realize that they are depressed yet this can affect the baby’s mood as well. If a mom-to-be is feeling depressed, sad, or even angry, her baby might get distressed, too. Thereafter she might become sad and withdrawn. This, in turn, might affect the little one’s ability to attach to the mother after birth.
14 When Mom Is Relaxing
Did you know that being more relaxed could shape the baby’s body, heal her internally, and even nurture a happier and healthier baby during pregnancy? According to Get Fit Birth, doctors suggest that all the things a pregnant mom feels can get to her unborn child through neurohormones.
When the mom is feeling relaxed, the baby will also feel excited and relaxed and might show this by kicking the mom’s belly or moving around out of enthusiasm. Positive emotions and feeling relaxed can help advance the health of the baby and can lead to a more peaceful baby while in the womb and a happier child once born.
13 Mom’s Heartbeat
When the bump nears the 24-week mark, most of its organs will have formed especially the ear. Therefore, she can hear sounds from inside the womb. The mom’s heartbeat, for example, is one of the things she finds comforting. It aids in the bonding process between the mom and the little one before he or she is even born.
Most importantly, the incessant rhythmic sound of the mom's heart throbbing through her chest can facilitate the development of a healthy baby while in the womb as claimed by the Daily Mail. Additionally, it helps lull the baby and makes her feel more relaxed. Moreover, that same sound comforts the young one during birth.
12 Loud Sounds
At 20 weeks, a baby can hear other sounds while in the womb, as stated by Healthy Mummy. The sounds that the mom can hear such as music, machinery and others alike, the baby can hear as well. In fact, there are gadgets being sold out there that can help parents sing, talk, or pipe music to the uterus via mini speakers as claimed by WebMD.
According to the Guardian, a study found that babies whose moms were listening to nursery rhymes before they were born remembered them three or four months later after birth and moms can play the same to soothe and calm the baby. Therefore, moms should listen to such nursery rhymes or lullabies. On the contrary, loud music and the sounds of heavy machinery can be dangerous to the little one's eardrums as well and upset the baby while in the womb.
11 Mom’s Voice
Abc News indicates that a baby’s language and communication skills begin to take form from when it is still in the uterus, from as early as four months. Incidentally, as the baby grows she is capable of telling apart her mother’s voice from those others and he or she will always love to hear the sound of their mother’s voice.
Consequently, it is often encouraged that a mother should talk to her baby bump to soothe him or her. This is a primary reason why from the birth of the little one, she has the ability to respond favorably and calmly to the sound of her mother.
10 Familiar Voices Of People Close To Mom
An unborn child can also notably differentiate the sound of consistent familiar voices like that of her father or siblings when they talk to the bump, according to FirstCryParenting. The baby normally starts differentiating sounds they love and can familiarize themselves with consistent familiar sounds. He or she might respond through kicking the mom’s belly.
Seemingly, talking to an unborn baby a lot and reading to her or even singing to her can make her happy and soon the baby might start to respond with excitement. Furthermore, she will start to form a bond of familiarity with the voices she hears as she can feel much more than one can imagine.
9 Practicing Breathing
The umbilical cord provides the baby with all of the oxygen he or she needs during pregnancy according to Healthline. However, babies can try to breathe somewhere between the 24th week and 28th week of pregnancy. This is the period when their lungs develop fully. Immediately after formation, they usually function the same way inside the uterus as outside. As a result, a baby may try to breathe and consequently swallow some of the amniotic fluid in the process.
Before birth, a baby’s lungs are normally full of amniotic fluid. According to Bradenton Herald, a baby does “practice” breathing towards the end of the pregnancy period while still inside the womb. He or she will start going through the motions, practicing and perfecting it until they master this necessary life skill before they enter into the world.
8 The Smell Of Some Foods
According to Today’s Parent, babies tend to act differently when mom eats certain types of foods because while in the womb they can smell and even taste it in the amniotic fluid. Whether or not the little one grows up to like certain types of foods, this has something to do with what the mom ate during pregnancy.
So not only does a baby's taste buds develop from as early as 35 weeks, but as stated by Motherly, research also indicates that he or she can smell certain types of foods such as garlic, anise, and carrots in the amniotic fluid. Moreover, moms can see this when their little one makes negative faces when they get to the same foods.
7 The Taste Of Mom’s Food
When mom-to-be eats specific types of foods, the baby can taste the flavors in the food in the amniotic fluid. For example, garlic, ginger, and sugary flavors have a reputation for modifying the flavor of the amniotic fluid. At only 15 weeks old, a baby will be more inclined to sugary flavors by swallowing more amniotic fluid when it is sugary and less when they find it bitter.
A researcher, Professor Julie Menella, from the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, insists that infants form memories of flavors after exposure of such flavors while in the womb. They also react differently to specific flavors in breastmilk after birth. Four months after birth, after which their brains are fully developed, a particular taste becomes familiar to them.
6 Mom’s Touch
From as early as the fourth month during pregnancy, a baby can sense when somebody places his or her hand on mom’s belly or even mom’s touch while rubbing her baby bump, as stated by HealthUnlocked. Rubbing the belly can be relaxing for both the mom and the little one. Oftentimes, mothers rub their baby bump not just by instinct, but because the baby can actually feel her touch as well.
When the mother starts feeling her baby move in her womb, touching the belly can also be a way to connect with them. Sometimes she might even catch the little one responding to her touch.
5 When Mom Is Happy
The bond between mother and child is very strong. It begins even before the little one enters the world and more often than not, it is the mother who natures the relationship the two of them will have. This is one of the reasons pregnant women should always have happy thoughts and feelings, as these will reflect in the little one.
Therefore, when the mom-to-be is joyful or elated, it can have positive effects on the emotional development of a healthy baby. According to Motherly, this is the main reason moms are often encouraged by their doctors to maintain a good, cheerful, and healthy environment.
4 When Mom Is In Pain
Medical experts suggest that babies who are around 20 to 22 weeks are capable of experiencing organic pain while still in the uterus or at the very least respond to stimuli in a manner that a mom could interpret to be a reaction to pain.
This means that fetal surgeons agree that their patients feel pain and that these patients include the child the mother is carrying. In fact, most babies who undergo fetal surgery must, as a requirement during surgery, be given anesthesia to numen their pain. Lozier Institute research states that an unborn baby reacts to pain with avoidance reactions and stress response.
3 Mom’s Movements
A baby is usually aware of her mother’s movements at around 17 weeks as stated by Made For Mums. This is mainly why when the expectant mother is relaxed, the baby is relaxed as well. Conversely, sudden movements from the mother can also cause the baby to be alert and might upset the little one in some cases. Sometimes she might even kick and fuss out of frustration.
Yoga is one popular way a mom-to-be can make her baby be at ease. Yoga movements allow a mother the time to bond with her baby and the opportunity to be relaxed and stress-free. Nonetheless, babies can also sleep in the womb while their mother is awake since non-vigorous movements rock them to sleep.
2 Mom’s Love
It is fascinating that the little bundle of joy can actually feel when someone is showing love to him or her. According to Carista Luminare-Rosen, author of Parenting Begins Before Conception: A Guide to Preparing Body, Mind, and Spirit for You and Your Future Child, babies in the uterus have the emotional and intuitive capabilities to sense their parents' love. Therefore, a baby in the womb can start bonding with its mother even before it is born.
Presumably, babies can also sense the feeling of rejection from the moms-to-be just from inside the womb. Thus, in addition to seeing, hearing, tasting and even remembering a baby can also feel loved or rejected. A healthy attachment between mother and child during pregnancy could ultimately assist in a baby’s personality development.
1 Mom's Surroundings
Babies are more aware of their surroundings while still in the womb than anyone might think. According to research, a fetus begins to move at around eight weeks old and only begins kicking when it nears 20 weeks of the gestation period. The kicking and the moving around are sure signs of being aware of their surroundings. This is the reason why preemies normally continue to seek that familiarity when born in the neonatal intensive care unit.
According to Today’s Parent, these little ones will try to bring their hands together, or cover their little faces with their hands, or even try to find a boundary with their feet. Therefore, the little one has a sense of his surroundings while in the uterus and leaving it too early can have psychological and physical problems in the future.
Sources: Healthymummy, Businessinsider, WebMD, Todaysparent, lozierinstitute.org, Motherly, getfitforbirth, caringforkids, BradentonHerald, Guardian, ABCnews, Made For Mums, VerywellFamily, Mentalfloss, FirstCryParenting, Healthunlocked, Pregnancybirthbaby, caringforkids, DailyMail.