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.
More top news
Pregnant women who smoke are more likely to give up if they are given shopping vouchers, new research suggests.
Children are eating the equivalent of seven and a half chocolate fingers for breakfast, campaigners have warned.
Stephen Fry has suggested that the "the patter of tiny feet" may be on the agenda following his wedding to Elliot Spencer.