2018-12-05 04:23:03 UTC
Life before birth is amazing.
In March this year, we reported on a study from Trinity College Dublin
which found that babies move around in the womb because they are
trying to develop strong bones and joints. Now, scientists at
University College London may have discovered another reason why
unborn babies kick.
A study published in the journal Scientific Reports suggests that
foetal movements enable a baby to construct a basic brain network so
that it can understand what part of the body is moving and how it is
Feeling their surroundings
The team analyzed the brainwaves of 19 two-day-old infants, some of
whom were premature and were therefore assumed to be acting as if they
were still in the womb. Using noninvasive electroencephalography
(EEG) researchers found that when the babies kicked, a region of their
brains that is linked to sensory input, known as the somatosensory
cortex, was activated.
The size of these brainwaves was largest in premature babies in the
equivalent of the last trimester, and were no longer triggered by
movement once the infants turned a few weeks old.
"Spontaneous movement and consequent feedback from the environment
during the early developmental period are known to be necessary for
proper brain mapping in animals such as rats. Here we showed that this
may be true in humans too," study author Dr Lorenzo Fabrizi said.
Care for preemies
Mothers start feeling movements between 16-25 weeks gestation (though
spontaneous movement starts at 7 weeks). Apart from shedding light on
this aspect of pregnancy, this research could also be used to help
"We think the findings have implications for providing the optimal
hospital environment for infants born early so that they receive
appropriate sensory input," said co-author Kimberley Whitehead, a
clinical physiologist . "For example, it is already routine for
infants to be 'nested' in their cots - this allows them to 'feel' a
surface when their limbs kick, as if they were still inside the womb.
"As the movements we observed occur during sleep, our results support
other studies which indicate that sleep should be protected in
newborns, for example by minimizing the disturbance associated with
necessary medical procedures."
Mothers might be glad to know that there is a reason for all the
kicking, especially as another recent study found that a baby's kick
has more than 10 lbs of force - more than hitting a tennis ball!
"Abortion kills twice. It kills the body of the baby and it kills the conscience of the mother. Abortion is profoundly anti-women.
~ Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta ~