6 Fascinating Things About Babies In The Womb
Feb. 18, 2020
1. Fertilization is 1-in-100-million affair.
Men release about 100 million sperm each time they ejaculate, though the semen of some especially fertile men can contain hundreds of millions of sperm.
But only a few hundred may ever reach a woman's egg. Special receptors on the surface of an egg make sure only one gets in.
2. Babies float around in the womb for the first week of life.
It takes the first tiny ball of dividing cells a few days to move down the Fallopian tubes and reach the uterus, and another few days for the embryo to implant itself.
From there it embeds into the cushy wall of a woman's uterus, soaks up nutrients, and triggers a cascade of further development.
But up until that point, babies are womb drifters.
3. A developing baby's heart starts pumping blood at 6 weeks.
By week eight, a baby's heart beats regularly about 160 times a minute. The pumping is also audible with the help of an ultrasound device.
When I first heard my baby's heartbeat through ultrasound, at about week eight or nine, I laughed out of shock.
4. Babies can hear inside (and outside) the womb, and the uterus is very noisy.
Most of the ear structures required to pick up sound are formed by week 16. From then on, a mom's heartbeat, eating, breathing, walking, talking, exercising, burping, and digestive gurgling can easily be heard by a developing baby.
This may help explain why babies find noise so comforting. There's also some evidence to suggest babies learn to recognize and react to mom's voice while inside the womb.
5. Loud noises can damage a fetus' hearing.
The sounds a mum exposes herself to are what a baby is exposed to as well, but babies can't put in ear plugs.
The CDC says moms should avoid very loud noises exceeding 115 dBA — chainsaws, gunfire, jet engines, blaring music, loud concerts, and so forth.
Consistent loud noise (like heavy machinery) can also damage a baby's hearing in the womb.
6. Babies cry in the womb.
Seeing is believing for this one.
Researchers accidentally made the discovery while studying mothers who used cigarettes or cocaine. After playing a sound on the pregnant mothers' bellies, ultrasound videos showed the babies startling, opening their mouths, and gasping.
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