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Unborn babies 'capable' of touch

Unborn babies are capable of touching during the later stages of gestation - an early indicator of healthy brain function, scientists say. Scans were carried out on 15 healthy foetuses and showed unborn babies were capable of anticipating touch.

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Findings may lead to 'more understanding' of babies

New information on the behaviour of babies in the womb may lead to "more understanding" about how children adapt to social situations, regulate stimulation and take a bottle or breast when born.

The study, published in the journal Developmental Psychobiology, found babies in the later stages of pregnancy are capable of touching their lower face and mouth, indicating healthy brain function.

This effect is likely to be evolutionally determined, preparing the child for life outside the womb.

Building on these findings, future research could lead to more understanding about how the child is prepared prenatally for life, including their ability to engage with their social environment, regulate stimulation and being ready to take a breast or bottle.

– Brian Francis, professor of social statistics at Lancaster University

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