Do babies cry in the womb?

A report that just appeared on WebMD today offers evidence that suggests babies cry while in womb:

A baby’s first cry may happen in the womb long before its arrival in the delivery room.

New research shows that fetuses may learn to express their displeasure by crying silently while still in the womb as early as in the 28th week of pregnancy.

Video-recorded ultrasound images of third trimester fetuses show that they appeared startled in response to a low-decibel noise played on the mother’s abdomen and display crying behavior, such as opening their mouths, depressing their tongues, and taking several irregular breaths before exhaling and settling back down again.

Researchers say the results show that crying may represent a fifth, previously unknown behavioral state for human fetuses. Previously recognized behaviors in unborn fetuses include quiet sleep, active state, quiet awake, and active awake.

The article notes that researchers say this behavior would require complex development:

They say documenting crying behavior in third-trimester fetuses may have developmental implications because crying is a complex behavior that requires coordination of various motor systems. It also requires reception of a stimulus, recognizing it as negative, and incorporating an appropriate response.

Go here to read the entire article.

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