The argument at the dinner table about the vegetables on the plate - many parents should be familiar with it. The fact that children like some vegetables more than others is evident quite early on, according to new research. According to a study, babies react positively or negatively to some foods while still in the womb.
For example, fetuses would have shown a more "smiling face" after their mothers ate carrots, scientists at the University of Durham in north-east England report in the journal "Psychological Science". After enjoying cabbage flavors, on the other hand, the fetuses would have made a more "crying face".
It was well known that babies reacted with aversion to cabbage. But now, for the first time, evidence has been found that even fetuses in the womb react differently to different smells and tastes, according to the study. Presumably, the fetuses develop a taste when they inhale and swallow amniotic fluid in the womb.
Using 4D ultrasound, the researchers recorded the facial expressions of their babies in 100 women at 32 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. The mothers were given a capsule containing around 400 milligrams of carrots or 400 milligrams of cabbage powder about 20 minutes before the scan and did not eat anything flavored for an hour beforehand. Fetal facial reactions were compared to those of a control group that received neither carrots nor cabbage. Result: Even small amounts flavored with carrots or cabbage were enough to trigger a reaction.
Co-author Jackie Blissett, from Aston University in Birmingham, said repeated prenatal taste exposure could lead to food preferences after birth. "In other words, exposing the fetus to less 'popular' tastes like cabbage could mean becoming accustomed to those tastes in utero."