Babies found to yawn in the womb

Last updated 12:41 22/11/2012
SO BORED: Scientists have discovered babies yawn in the womb.
SO BORED: Scientists have discovered babies yawn in the womb.
SO BORED: Scientists have discovered babies yawn in the womb.

Relevant offers


'How I survived breast cancer while pregnant' Why are due dates so important? Trans man shocked when bloated stomach turns out to be pregnancy Six top models share pregnancy advice Kim Kardashian's 23kg weight gain during pregnancy is 'dangerous', says doctor The value of the Asian tradition of postpartum lie-ins Woman, 47, finds out she's pregnant an hour before giving birth Should you have a baby shower the second time around? Medications pregnant women should take, avoid, and think about Physios warn against doing 'crunches' while pregnant

Growing into a fully formed human being is a long process, and scientists have found that unborn babies not only hiccup, swallow and stretch in the womb, they yawn too.

Researchers who studied 4D scans of 15 healthy foetuses also said they think yawning is a developmental process which could potentially give doctors a new way to check on a baby’s health.

While some scientists have previously suggested that foetuses yawn, others disagree and say it is nothing more than a developing baby opening and stretching its mouth.

But writing in the journal PLOS ONE on Wednesday, British researchers said their study was able to clearly distinguish yawning from ‘‘non-yawn mouth opening’’ based on how long the mouth was open.

The researchers did this by using 4D video footage to examine all the times when foetuses opened their mouths.

Nadja Reissland of Durham University’s department of Psychology, who led the study, said the function and importance of yawning in foetuses is still unknown, but the findings suggest it may be linked to foetal development and could provide a further indication of the health of the unborn baby.

‘‘Unlike us, foetuses do not yawn contagiously, nor do they yawn because they are sleepy,’’ she said.

‘‘Instead, the frequency of yawning in the womb may be linked to the maturing of the brain early in gestation.’’

The study was carried out on eight female and seven male foetuses from 24 to 36 weeks gestation.

The researchers found that yawning declined from 28 weeks and that there was no significant difference in how often boys and girls yawned.

Ad Feedback

- Reuters

Special offers
Opinion poll

Did you have a baby shower for your second baby?



I didn't even have one for my first

Vote Result

Related story: (See story)

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content