Pregnancy / Childbirth

Fetal senses: amazing facts

Fetal senses: amazing facts

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The child's senses are formed already in the fetal period, at an early stage of development. Many of them are more important than they may seem. Through them, the child is adapted to function in the world, recognizes his mother and interprets impressions from the environment.

Below we've collected some amazing facts about touch, sight, hearing, taste and smell.


  • The first sense of a child. The child first receives stimuli by mouth and nose, then the rest of the body.
  • The sense of touch develops already in the middle of the 8th week of pregnancy.
  • Thanks to the touch, the baby in her mother's belly learns to suck, swallow and cough.
  • The fetal response occurs at the level of the brainstem and spinal cord.The fetus does not register touch and does not feel pain in the part of the brain responsible for the intellect: the cerebral cortex.
  • Pain through the fetus it is felt in a different way, unknown to us. Feelings collected by the nerves are sent to the brain, but he is unable to understand and assess them properly. The stimuli transmitted to the spinal cord can be distressing to the fetus, felt differently than in the case of an adult.
  • EEG examination of the child's brain during childbirth shows minimal activitywhich for many scientists means that childbirth does not cause child suffering.
  • The sense of touch is equally important after delivery. The best way to carry a newborn baby is the "kangaroo" method. This arrangement reminds the child of the conditions prevailing in the womb and supports the emotional and neurological development of the toddler.


  • Contrary to what was thought a dozen or so years ago, air breathing is not needed to develop the sense of smell. The fetus exercises this sense by perceiving the sensations flowing along with the amniotic fluid through the mouth and nose.
  • The sense of smell develops dynamically from about 30 weeks of pregnancy, by which time the nasal cavity is obstructed.
  • The olfactory development begins as early as 9 weeks of gestation, when the olfactory epithelial cells are formed.
  • Mother's milk, saliva and sweat contain fragrance ingredients similar to those in amniotic fluid, which is why the newborn baby recognizes the smell of the mother after birth, which allows easier breastfeeding.
  • Bottle-fed babies do not recognize their mother's (armpit) smell after two weeks. You can consider feeding your baby cuddled to the bare skin of the parent, which will give the baby special closeness.
  • Breastfed babies prefer unwashed nipples: it is worth considering washing them with water alone, without the addition of soap, and washing them with your own milk for protection.


  • despite the darkness prevailing in the womb, the baby's vision develops even before delivery. This is because enough light gets through the uterus wall to stimulate the toddler's eyesight.
  • The sense of sight develops already in the seventh week, when the eye cups with retina and lens appear.
  • for the baby to see something after delivery, half of the neurons that make up the brain must work together.


  • the baby in the womb hears mainly noises, furcots, wheezing, issued by blood flowing through the veins and through the working stomach and intestines,
  • the uterus is quite loud, the noise level even reaches 90 decibels, i.e. as much as our ears perceive next to the overground railway line (scientists checked by introducing a hydrophone, a device measuring the intensity of sounds, into the uterus),
  • babies in the 24th week of pregnancy can already recognize the mother's voice, which quickly calms them down,


  • taste buds appear already in the 8th week of fetal life. Why so early? In order to be able to recognize the mother at birth: many substances from the amniotic fluid appear in sweat and milk.
  • the fetus has the most taste buds, more than babies or adults: more than 4,500
  • the fetus can feel some flavors in the second month of life.
  • the taste of the amniotic fluid is constantly changing, depending on what mom eats, which can affect taste preferences after birth.
Based on
"A healthy pregnancy. Guide of a loving mother ". Bow. Michael Roizen, MD med. Mehmet C. Oz