You know when a little kid sees a pregnant lady drinking a glass of OJ, and he's like "No! The baby will drown!" Turns out he's kind of right. The mother-to-be is drowning her baby in flavor, and it will impact the baby's palate forever, a new study finds. NPR reports:
"Things like vanilla, carrot, garlic, anise, mint—these are some of the flavors that have been shown to be transmitted to amniotic fluid or mother's milk," says Julie Mennella, who studies taste in infants at the Monell Chemical Senses Center. In fact, Mennella says there isn't a single flavor they have found that doesn't show up in utero.
To determine if flavors are passed from the mother to the the baby via the amniotic fluid, researchers gave women garlic capsules or sugar capsules before taking a routine sample of their amniotic fluid—and then asked a panel of people to smell the samples.
Sitting in a laboratory sniffing vials of garlic-flavored amniotic fluid is the second-grossest thing I have imagined all day. Grossest thing: Spending nine months floating in sea of garlic-flavored amniotic fluid, as it washes in and out of your pathetic fetal mouth, because your lip muscles haven't developed enough to stay closed, yet. Ewughhughhhh.
"And just like the European rabbit, the babies who had experienced carrot in amniotic fluid or mother's milk ate more of the carrot-flavored cereal," says Mennella. "And when we analyzed the video tapes they made less negative faces while eating it."
Carrot-flavored cereal, soppy and soft, in a bowl of carrot-flavored amniotic fluid, being spooned into the feeble carrot-flecked mouth of a toothless infant. Grossest human interest story about a mildly revelatory scientific story ever.