Babies found to yawn in the womb

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

Relevant offers

Pregnancy

Why I won’t be watching any childbirth videos during my pregnancy Bridesmaids star Rose Byrne welcomes first child with Bobby Cannavale Healthy man, healthy sperm: Why men need to shape up for pregnancy One more thing to avoid while pregnant: listening to every piece of advice Mum-to-be's beachside shoot ends in amazing photobomb What if only one parent wants to know the gender? Perth mum gives birth to healthy quintuplets, taking family of five to family of 10 Dad of four girls faints at gender reveal for fifth baby Want a girl? Have more ice cream, suggests study Zika virus outbreak raises Pacific, Americas travel concerns for pregnant women

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?

Yes

No

I didn't even have one for my first

Vote Result

Related story: (See story)

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content