Do Babies Cry in the Womb?


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A baby’s activities inside her mother’s womb are the mystery that parents treasure to glance at. Many of us have been delighted feeling their kicks inside the womb. But while we all know that babies cry after birth and that occupies a big part of their day, have you wondered whether they cry inside? Let us find out.

Do Unborn Babies Really Cry in the Womb?

Babies do cry in the womb, but it isn’t necessarily how they would cry once they are out in the world. Scientists are yet to determine the degree of this. Research shows that human foetuses display different states inside their mother’s womb. The previously known behaviours were active awake, quiet sleep, quiet awake and active state. The fifth discovered in recent times was that of crying. Hence, it is a milestone in terms of your foetus’ development inside your womb.

How Does a Baby Respond in the Womb?

Babies start learning techniques to deal with the world outside while they are still inside their mother’s womb. According to a study, a 16-week old child with ears still developing in her mother’s womb was found to respond to sound. The study also revealed that foetuses respond by kicking when they are spoken to and touched. Babies generally react to stimuli which lie outside the womb, such as, light, sound, movement done by the mother, the pressure placed on the mother’s womb, like if an elder sibling presses against her mother’s belly etc. Your foetus can move around, get startled, urinate and even do a somersault.

A study was conducted to observe the reaction of foetuses in their third trimester to music being played on their mother’s belly. The study revealed that interruption in music triggered responses from the foetuses which were similar to crying in 10 of the foetuses. This evidence suggested that the baby crying in the womb was triggered by the interruption of music.

When & Why does an Unborn Start Crying?

By the twentieth week, the foetus already knows the breathing movements, can move her jaws to open it, she can quiver her chin and extend her tongue. By this time she can even swallow. By the beginning of the twenty-fourth week, babies become capable of producing crying sounds and respond to noises in the external environment.

You might still be wondering why do babies cry in the womb. Babies use crying as a mode of communication and to show their displeasure. Your unborn may cry to communicate her hunger, fatigue, fear or, just to let you know that she needs to be hugged.

Signs Your Unborn Baby is Crying

You can witness the signs of your unborn crying inside your womb while doing an ultrasound. The signs could be like an extended breath with open mouth and tongue going down. Next, the baby gets engaged in faster breathing with a pause between inhalation and exhalation for settling. Other signs are puffing and trembling of her lower lips. Some babies open their mouth, depress their tongue, take irregular breaths several times prior to exhalation and then settle down while crying. A foetus was found to tighten her chest then with trembling lips she took three rapid breaths and tilted her head.


What Happens When Baby Cry while in the Womb?

When a baby cries inside her mother’s womb, it is indicative of a well-developed coordination between her brain, her nervous system, and her body. In order to cry, your baby needs to use the breathing techniques, face muscles and above all the application of sound.

But can you hear your baby cry in the womb? Studies have revealed that crying can be silent and loud. When your baby cries inside your womb, she uses the silent version of crying. This type of crying can be recognized through body movements and facial expressions, much alike children post birth. You get to know that your baby has developed senses to recognize external stimulus.

What Does Crying Indicate/Represent?

  • Her brain, nervous system and body can match up to each other’s signals.
  • Well developed facial muscles
  • She has learned the breathing techniques well
  • Non-vocal crying abilities
  • She has become capable of recognizing stimuli external to your womb
  • Understanding of good and bad stimuli

Why It Is Important for a Baby to Cry?

Crying helps in the development of your baby’s physical and psychological aspects. It helps in the expansion of her lungs. Crying is the language for communication of your foetus. When your baby cries, it is an expression of distress. If post watching your child crying through an ultrasound, you pat your own belly, your young one is likely to understand that you care. This understanding will pave its way for the development of a sense of care and responsibility.

It is important for a baby to cry to help her grow up. By that we mean her body develops well and gets to coordinate with each other to perform normal body functions. The coordination between the brain and the rest of the body gets portrayed by your foetus’s movements and other activities, one of which is crying. During an ultrasonography, your paediatrician and you would be able to realise that she is preparing well inside.

While there have been many questions regarding babies crying within their mother’s womb, studies have revealed that they actually do. As a mother, you might be able to feel that your baby is crying within your womb. And even though it may pain your heart, do not get perturbed as crying symbolise vitality. It is an important indicator of your foetus’s growth and development. It implies her body’s motor actions are working well. It will also prepare her to react appropriately after birth to any stimuli that may cause her any displeasure.

Also Read:

Healthy and Unhealthy Signs of Baby in the Womb
Talking to Your Baby in Womb