Taste Develops in Utero

Most of us assume that the womb is like Grandma’s off-limits closet: dark and mysterious. But the truth is that there is some connection to the outside 1) ___ while a baby is in utero, and that many people develop preferences based on experiences during those 9 months. Here’s what developed when you first started to smell and 2) ___. Scientists used to believe that fetuses had no sense of 3) ___. We now know that, before birth, amniotic fluid moves through the nasal and oral cavities, and that develops sense of smell — an ability that starts at about 30 weeks. Taste buds start to develop in utero by week 8, and they begin communicating with the 4) ___ about 5 weeks later. Located around the perimeter of the tongue, each of the 4,500 taste buds has about 40 receptor cells, which bind with food and send information to the brain. A 5) ___ can taste some flavors by 8 weeks, and by 15 to 17 weeks, the amniotic fluid can taste of curry, cumin, onion, or other foods from the mother’s diet. The taste of the 6) ___ ___ changes all the time, depending on what mother is eating, which may strongly influence what the baby will prefer later in life. Abstracted from Mehmet Oz, MD and, Michael Roizen, MD

ANSWERS: 1) world; 2) taste; 3) smell; 4) brain; 5) fetus; 6) amniotic fluid 

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