Have you ever wondered what it's like in the womb for a developing baby? It's not something you can really remember, but it's where everyone began their lives. While the best pregnancy apps can help alleviate some of the stress of not knowing exactly what's going on inside your belly, it's always comforting to read and learn about the actual developmental process.
As you experience bizarre changes in your body because of pregnancy, know that some of those changes are to accommodate your baby in the womb. Your body works to keep the womb warm and the baby surrounded by fluids so that it can float, squirm, eat, and sleep.
So what does a typical day feel like in a mother's belly? You may be surprised by some of the things babies experience.
They'll Practice Normal Baby Things
Even before the baby exits the womb, they'll be prepping for life on the outside. Because the motor skills really start working in the last trimester, babies will start doing basic activities that all babies do. They won't be able to suck yet, because that reflex isn't fully formed, but that doesn't stop them from putting their thumb in their mouth as if they're sucking on it.
They'll grab things around them, including parts of their body, and will squirm and fidget to try to find comfortable positions. They will even practice facial expressions, such as frowning and smiling, as 4D scans of babies in utero have shown.
They'll Be "Breathing" Amniotic Fluid
The baby's lungs are one of the last things to develop while in the womb because for a long time, they don't need them. Babies get all the oxygen they need to thrive through the umbilical chord, so they won't be breathing, per se, while inside. The baby will, however, start practicing for the real thing using the amniotic fluid surrounding it. At merely nine weeks, the baby starts opening its mouth and taking in amniotic fluid, even swallowing it in an action similar to breathing.
Doctors can use this to check the baby's swallowing reflex, but can also check to see if the baby is developing its ability to breathe. Once on the outside, the air triggers the baby to take its first breath, and only then does it begin to really breathe.
The Baby Will Enjoy Meals With Their Parent
While it's true that the baby will be getting food through the placenta and some nutrients through the amniotic fluid, that doesn't mean they aren't developing a sense of taste. Not only does the amniotic fluid carry particularly strong flavors, but the baby is developed enough by the third trimester to recognize whether food is bitter, sweet, sour, or even garlicky.
They'll also show signs of enjoying some foods more than others. There is also evidence that babies prefer certain foods depending on what's given to them while they're in the womb.
When They Need To, They'll Pee
The baby will relieve itself in the womb whenever it wants. By the end of the first trimester, the baby is already swallowing amniotic fluid. That amniotic fluid has to go somewhere, so it passes through the stomach, is processed by the kidneys, and the baby's kidneys produce waste. Babies pee that waste into the amniotic fluid.
Soon after, the cycle begins again, with that same amniotic fluid the baby peed into. It may sound gross, but this is just good practice for the baby's body once it gets to the outside world.