When you’re pregnant, you can see your belly getting bigger, but do you really know what’s going on in there? For sure, pregnancy can seem like a huge mystery, but there are some totally random facts about babies in the womb that you just might find interesting. Like, did you know that your baby can actually cry in utero? And with an accent, too?
“It’s actually quite surprising what goes on in the womb during a pregnancy,” Dr. Roohi Jeelani, FACOG, a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist, tells Romper. And how. During each of my pregnancies, I loved learning as much as I could about what was happening in utero. I was (just slightly) obsessed with Babycenter’s fetal development tracker, which gave me a gauge of just how big my growing baby was. For example, at week five, my baby was the size of a sesame seed (aww!), or that at 27 weeks, that little cutie was the size of a cauliflower. But fruits and veggies aside, it’s interesting to learn about how your baby is developing in the womb. These random (and fun) facts just might help you learn more about your precious little baby — and pass the pregnancy time by, too.
1. Babies Can See
Sure, it might be a little dark in there, but babies can somewhat see before they’re born. “Usually, eyesight is one of the last senses to develop for the baby,” says Dr. Jeelani. “The baby’s retinas can detect light as early as 18 weeks.” And here’s another fun fact: in addition to your baby being able to see, her eyes can also begin to blink, Parents reported.
2. Babies Can Hear
All that cooing and singing you’re doing for your belly isn’t all for naught. In fact, hearing is one of the first things to develop in utero. “Babies develop ear buds at 8 weeks, although they don’t hear sound until 18 weeks,” says Dr. Jeelani. “And at 24 weeks, the baby becomes more sensitive to different sounds and voices.” But wait until weeks 25-26, when your baby can actually recognize your voice — and better yet, react to it, according to Healthline.
3. Babies Can Cry
If you’ve ever seen an ultrasound where your is making a scrunched up face, there’s a chance he might be crying. Says Dr. Jeelani: “Although there is very limited research on this, some studies have suggested a fetus may cry in the womb around the 28 week mark.” But don’t expect big tears or loud crying, though. Dr. Jeelani reports that if a baby does cry in the womb, it’s more of a silent cry than the loud ones she’ll make once she’s born.
4. Babies Have A Big Head
During the early stages of pregnancy, your baby’s head makes up a large percentage of his overall size, The Bump found. “The fetal head is half the baby due to the imbalance between brain and body development,” says Dr. Jeelani. But don’t worry — eventually your baby’s body will catch up.
5. Babies Have A Lot Of Bones
Feeling those jabs from an elbow or a kick from your baby’s foot? You can thank your baby’s bones for that—all 300 of them. “Babies are born with more bones than adults because some will eventually fuse together,” Dr. Jeelani reports. “In fact, some aren’t true bones but are made up of cartilage which will eventually become bones.” Eventually, the bones will fuse together to become the 206 bones that adults have, Kids Health reported.
6. Babies Can Feel Touch
If you spend time cradling your belly, be sure that your baby can feel your gentle rubs. “Touch is one of the first senses to develop,” says Dr. Jeelani. “By 8 weeks of conception, the fetus has sensory receptors on their face.” And around week 11, your baby has already started to check out his digs by using his mouth, feet, and hands, Today’s Parent found. But if you place your hand on your belly, your baby can sense it, too — and respond to it.
7. Babies Have Fingerprints At 23 Weeks
About halfway through your pregnancy, your baby’s delicious little digits will soon sport fingerprints. “Typically fingerprints are established around week 20-24,” says Dr. Jeelani. Around the same time, your baby’s feet will also begin to form the indentations and lines that will eventually make up his footprints, reported the Mayo Clinic.
8. Babies’ Eyes Open At 33 Weeks
Although your baby can see light much earlier, it won’t be until she’s close to being born that your baby will really open her eyes. “Around 33 weeks the pupils have the ability to dilate as constrict and the baby can start making out various shapes,” says Dr. Jeelani. Although she might be able to see some blurry shapes, Parents found that your baby’s eyesight won’t be 20/20 until at least the first six months after birth.
9. Babies Don’t Have Kneecaps
You’d think that having 300 bones in her body would mean that your baby has a surplus of skeletal matter. So it’s kind of shocking to discover that babies aren’t actually born with kneecaps. Instead of bone, they’re born with cartilage that, over time, develops into the kneecap, Healthline found. But it’s a super slow process that can take between 2-6 years, with the kneecap fully forming by ages 10-12.
10. Babies Drink Their Own Pee
Babies pee in the womb. They also drink amniotic fluid. So when you put it together, they are drinking their own urine. Around the 20-week mark, the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby is replaced by the baby’s urine, found Medical News Today, which it swallows and excretes. Although it might make you want to gag, it’s important to remember that amniotic fluid is sterile, so your baby is safe swimming in (and, eww, slurping up) his pee.
Learning about what’s going on during your pregnancy can help you become more informed. It can also create a stronger connection between you and your baby that will last 9 months and, truly, for a lifetime.