Babies in the Womb Can See More Than What We Thought

Pregnancy evokes a different kind of feeling in each mother. Not only are there physical changes that you have to bear with but there are also a lot of mood swings and emotional imbalances that you may encounter. While all this is happening externally, there’s your little munchkin preparing to face the real world. Especially during the second trimester, the growth is more evident as it kicks, moves, and does things you’ll be surprised to know. In fact, recent research by the scientists at the University of California, Berkley, has concluded that babies in the womb can see more than what we thought.

What Does the New Study Say?

Imagine your baby being able to sense sunlight once you head out or he/ she responding with a kick when a flashlight is focused on the belly; this is what really happens. Apparently, the light-sensitive cells of your baby’s eyes communicate with each other and send signals that can have a direct effect on its behavior and brain development. 

baby’s eyes

As mentioned earlier, this basically starts in the second trimester and continues until birth. But it is vital to understand that vision development is a complex process and continues even after the baby’s birth (approximately up to 3 months). An interesting fact you may not be aware of is that after the 28th week, your baby can even blink and by week 33, the pupils constrict and dilate so that he/she has a blurry vision inside the womb. 

Studies reveal that 3% of ganglion cells (projection neurons of the vertebrate retina) are light-sensitive and communicate with the brain controlling the baby’s mood and emotions. This is the reason why experts suggest that pregnant mothers are exposed to natural lights more often. 

“Given the variety of these ganglion cells and that they project to many different parts of the brain, it makes me wonder whether they play a role in how the retina connects up to the brain”, said Maria Feller, a scientist at the University of California. 

Similar to how a baby detects light, studies say that it can also hear inside the womb. The noise of you burping, talking, and even the music you listen to can be heard by the growing fetus. This is why doctors and midwives advise you not to listen to loud sounds such as gunfire and sirens as there are chances it might affect the baby’s sense of hearing. A mother’s heartbeat, burps, and even gastric sounds in the stomach can be heard by the baby while in the womb. Sounds fun right?

It is quite fascinating to find out how much your baby can sense while still in the womb. Fetal research surely surprises us with interesting facts that were once unknown.

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I'm Vannessa, a certified masters in curating unique diet plans specializing in nutrition, weight management, stress management etc. I was formerly a member of Healthline's dedicated research team and was recognized as one of their top writers for a decade.I am also actively participating in several health forums, including MomMD and MedHelp.I'm passionate about helping people achieve optimal health through strength training, mindfulness techniques. My articles and guides offer a blend of research and practical strategies to support your specific needs. Let's work together to unlock your full potential for a healthier life.I postgraduated my degree in Advanced Food Safety from Queen's University Belfast. (