Can a baby cry while still in the womb?

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2021-11-26 00:46:32

Starting in the second trimester of pregnancy, expectant parents may feel their unborn baby kick, roll over, and even hiccup. But can an unborn baby start crying before birth?

Research now shows that babies cry from the time they are in the womb. Although the parents did not perceive this subtle behavior, the moment the fetuses cried was recorded on the ultrasound screen.

Since 2005, a study in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood – Fetal and Neonatal Edition has reported a 33-week-old fetus showing crying facial expressions.

And after the scientists generated vibrations and noises, the fetus widened its jaws, drew in its chin, and exhaled three large consecutive breaths. At the same time, the baby’s chest rises and the head tilts back. The movement ends with a chin flutter, and these movements are seen in 10 fetuses (about 6% of all neonates screened).

So, is this baby crying in the womb?

This ultrasound image shows a baby performing a series of crying movements, except that the cry is not heard.

It depends on how you define it: What is crying?

Developmental psychologist Nadja Reissland from Durham University, UK says:If you use the definition of crying as ‘a loud voiceless scream or a scream expressing a strong feeling or emotion’, then you can say with some certainty that an infant does not cry in the womb. “.

In the womb, specifically the fluid-filled environment of the amniotic sac, the fetus cannot breathe yet. When the lungs are not filled with air, it cannot vibrate the vocal cords to produce a cry – although it is true that sound can travel through water and even more quickly in liquids than in air.

But a cry in the womb is basically impossible. There is no physical mechanism that allows the fetal vocal cords to vibrate and produce sound. All of that has to wait until after the baby is born, pushing all the amniotic fluid out of the respiratory tract before they can cry out loud.

However, a baby in the womb can still perform all of the same behaviors as if they were crying, except for the actual cry. Scientists define this as the 5F state of the fetus, in addition to the four behavioral states they previously identified: quiet, active, asleep and awake.

5F is a set of moves:

– Lengthen the tongue

– Coordinate complex breathing movements

– Open function

– Move the mouth

– Shaking chin

– Swallow

Babies 20 weeks of age and older can begin to practice 5F, and in one definition Reissland considers them to be crying.

Can a baby cry while still in the womb?  - Photo 2.

Reissland’s research used 4D ultrasound technology to capture the facial expressions of a crying fetus.

Crying is an important developmental milestone for babies, representing a coordinated effort between many body systems. The fetus begins to develop all senses, from touch, smell, hearing to practice movements even in the womb. All the skills that allow babies to imitate crying are developed after the 20th week of pregnancy“, the scientists said.

But why do we need to know a baby is crying in the womb, even when it doesn’t make a sound?

Basically, crying is a survival mechanism. It ensures children can signal to caregivers that they need help, are in distress, or need to be moved out of a threatened situation.

However, crying in the womb is a very new behavior that scientists are just beginning to understand and observe. The fetus may cry, but not make a sound. These movements are also so subtle that the mother cannot detect them.

So is it just a form of exercise or are the babies really crying? In a 2005 study, scientists used loud noises to startle fetuses in the womb and they cried for 15-20 seconds.

So, it is possible that crying in the womb is also a sign of response to unpleasant auditory stimuli. On the other hand, they observed that when a mother spoke softly and lovingly to her unborn baby, it calmed them down.

Scientists are trying to explain the crying behavior of the fetus, to see if it is related to sadness, bloating or other reactions to unpleasant situations? It is especially painful to feel pain when something is wrong with them, because babies can begin to feel pain as early as the third trimester, or the 28th week of pregnancy.

Can a baby cry while still in the womb?  - Photo 3.

In short, depending on the definition, you can say whether a baby can cry while in the womb. Scientists say: Yes, they cry by their definition. And spotting a crying baby can help figure out what’s wrong with them.

However, parents do not need to worry too much. They will never be woken up in the middle of the night by a baby’s cry, unless they are already born. But conversely, you can start talking and comforting your baby while still in the womb. So spend your precious time touching and talking to your baby.

Refer to Sciencealert, Verywellfamily

#baby #cry #womb

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