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Scientists now know if you cried before you were ever born

Scientists now know if you cried before you were ever born

We already know they can kick, but can they cry too?

We know babies can move around and kick in the womb, but have you ever thought about whether they could cry?

Crying is something babies not only instinctually know how to do, but something they seem to love to do. Hungry, sleepy, or even just a little uncomfortable, they don't need to think twice about exercising their lungs, so why wait until they're out into the world to do so?

Obviously we can't hear whether babies cry in the womb, but scientists have been able to figure out whether it's something that can be done:

When they're still developing as a little bun in the oven, babies are surrounded by amniotic fluid; the liquid contained in the amniotic sac.

As there is no oxygen for them to breathe, babies rely on the amniotic fluid to help develop their bones and lungs and cushion them from any impacts coming from outside.

Now, if you've ever tried crying with a mouthful of water, you'll probably know that it's neither an easy nor particularly clean experience. But babies of at least 20 weeks old are apparently a lot more talented than us air-breathing folk, and are seemingly able to cry even while surrounded by amniotic fluid.

Scientists were able to determine whether babies could cry in the womb by using ultrasound scans to monitor their reactions as different sounds were played through a speaker against the mom's belly.

Babies of 20 weeks can cry in the womb.

When watching the reaction of the babies, the researchers discovered a 'visible reaction that mirrored that of an infant crying', according to a video shared by Ultrasound Ireland.

The reaction was so reminiscent of a baby out of the womb that scientists could even see the bottom lip quivering as the little human showed their dislike for the sounds being played.

The lack of air in the lungs prevents babies from crying out loud, but they typically make up for that by gulping in air and giving some loud cries shortly after being born.

The researchers discovered a 'visible reaction that mirrored that of an infant crying'.
Prostock-studio / Alamy Stock Photo

Crying isn't the only thing babies can do in the womb, as they have also been found to experiment with their sense of touch by feeling their own bodies, as well as developing a sense of taste and the ability to hear - which, of course, is what might set them off crying in the first place.

It might be heartbreaking to know your little one could be crying in the womb, but you might just miss those silent versions when their emotion comes through at full volume.

Featured Image Credit: UltrasoundIrelandscans/YouTube/valentyn semenov/Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Science, Parenting