Sunday, September 4, 2011

Prenatal learning about food.

It is always interesting to learn more about what babies may be experiencing before they are born. My friend, Ruth Meszaros, shared information about prenatal learning in regard to food preferences. I was able to track down an article with some research for us to ponder. The article I found was written by Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., and was from her website, Here is what she had to say.
At around twelve weeks of age, a fetus begins to swallow amniotic fluid. This fluid can take on the odors and flavors of what the mother has recently eaten. Then, around 28 weeks the fetus begins to respond to odor and odor is an important component of flavor. The question is, “Do babies learn about flavors before they are born?”
This learning has been documented in rodents and there is some evidence that it might be true for humans as well. Newborns prefer the smell of their own amniotic fluid but this preference goes away a few days after birth. Researchers wonder about the long-term effects of this learning. To help understand this, a study was designed that tracked 46 pregnant women. Babies seemed to prefer the flavor of the food their mothers had eaten while pregnant. It is important to note that one study with only 46 subjects cannot be the final word on prenatal food preferences, but it is something to think about.
Then there is the dark side of prenatal exposure to certain flavors. Rodents who have been exposed to alcohol in utero are more attracted to alcohol-tainted water after birth. Could this be true for human babies also? Studies have shown there is a link between fetal alcohol exposure and alcoholism later in life.  As my father use to say, “A word to the wise is sufficient.”


Yum Yum, don’t you know I love apples
Yum Yum, don’t you know I love apples
Red and green and yellow too
Yum Yum, don’t you know I love apples

Way up high in the apple tree,
I saw two eyes lookin’ at me
I reached for an apple
It started to squirm
Whoops I found a wiggly worm!
 (repeat first verse)

Rub tummy, point to self, use signs for apple, red, green, and yellow.
Point up high, circle eyes with thumb and index finger, pantomime other movements.

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