Many children don’t like eating greens and a new study shows that this distaste might begin in the womb.
Researchers found that fetuses exposed to the flavor of carrot experienced a “lip-corner puller” and a “laughter-face” more frequently. When they were exposed to kale, it was a “lower-lip depressor” and a “cry-face.”
“We decided to do this study to understand more about fetal abilities to taste and smell in the womb,” lead researcher Beyza Ustun, a postgraduate researcher in the Fetal and Neonatal Research Lab at Durham University in the U.K., told CNN.
Published in Psychological Science, this is also one of the first studies to show “direct evidence of fetal reactions to flavours in the womb,” Ustun added.
A hundred pregnant mothers who were between the age of 18 to 40 and closer to 32 weeks in their pregnancy were enrolled. The participants were given either organic carrot or kale capsules, depending on the group they were in.
After 20-minutes of consuming the vegetable capsules, these women went through 4D ultrasound scans.
Dr. Daniel Robinson, an associate professor of neonatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, wasn’t involved in the study and pointed out that the ultrasound images shouldn’t be taken as happiness or unhappiness, per NBC News.
“There is the notion that newborns and infants will have a preference for sweeter flavors, and there are evolutionary ideas behind that,” he said.
“Diet during pregnancy is really important and influential on the health of not just the developing fetus, but the future for that child,” Robinson added.
With that said, the study does establish a basic connection: a pregnant woman’s diet may influence a baby’s taste preferences.