Can my baby smell before she's born?

Q: Can my baby smell before she's born?

A: Your baby's nose forms between 11 and 15 weeks. Until recently, scientists didn't think that babies could smell in the womb, because it was believed that the ability to smell depended on breathing in air (in your uterus, your baby breathes in only amniotic fluid -- she won't take her first oxygen-filled breaths until you push her out). But now doctors believe that the amniotic fluid flowing through your baby's oral and nasal cavities can trigger her sense of smell. And here's some proof: Studies have shown that newborns are drawn to the scent of breast milk, although they've never been exposed to it before. Researchers suspect this may come from cues they've learned in prenatal life. --Karin A. Bilich

Copyright 2009

2 Comments

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