What is a baby's world before it is born? Some might say it is the placenta, which provides protec...
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What is a baby's world before it is born? Some might say it is the placenta, which provides protection and early immunity, delivers nutrients and oxygen, and removes carbon dioxide and other waste. But beyond what the placenta provides, some other remarkable things are happening as the baby's senses develop. The embryo is touching and feeling the world around it by 5 ½ weeks, first as its lips and nose touch the wall of the uterus and then extending to the rest of the body. The sense of taste also develops early. By 9 weeks, the fetus can taste some flavors, and after 13 to 15 weeks, the taste of amniotic fluid changes constantly based on what the mother eats. A developing baby can also hear - most of the sounds are the movement of its mother's stomach and intestines, and blood running through her blood vessels. But a developing baby can also hear voices from outside the womb. By 24 weeks a baby recognizes - and is calmed--by its mother's voice. And by 28 weeks, the baby's sense of smell takes in odors from things the mother eats or inhales, which pass from her blood through the placenta to the amniotic fluid. Even the baby's sense of sight might be getting stimulation from some light coming through the womb, especially when the mother is in bright light. In addition to hearing, tasting, smelling, seeing, and touching, the baby is also practicing walking in the uterus. The mother feels these as kicking movements. And by the third trimester, a sudden movement by the mother will cause the baby to fling out its arms and legs as if losing its balance.

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