Do Babies Cry In The Womb? How to Find Out

Do Babies Cry In The Womb? How to Find Out

As a pregnant mama-to-be, you’ve seen enough hospital dramas to know what to expect:

Your baby crying as soon as they’re born, marking their entrance to the world.

(And probably for the next few weeks after that.) 🙃

But, you don’t often give too much thought to if babies can cry before they are born.

Plus, even if they can cry, how would you know?!

Let’s dive right into it. 👇

In this article: 📝

  • So, do babies cry in the womb?
  • How do you know if your baby is crying in the womb?
  • What else can babies do in the womb?

So, do babies cry in the womb?

Well, it depends on how you define crying.

But scientists have been studying fetal behavior in the womb for decades, and finally have some answers.

So, in short, yes — babies can cry in the womb. 🤯

But it’s not in the way that we imagine.

How do babies cry in the womb?

Not with the wet tears and earth-shattering screams you’d likely hear in the delivery room, that’s for certain.

But, instead, babies’ fetal cries have more to do with other behavior and body language.

Babies are thought to exhibit crying through various body motions and breathing changes, rather than any audible weeping.

A 2005 study from New Zealand researched these fetal behaviors, and found that by monitoring these, you could confirm whether the baby was crying or not. 💡

And that’s not all, either…

The study also found that the baby can perform all the actions which make up a good ol’ cry, including:

  • Quivering of the chin
  • Moving of the mouth
  • Opening the jaw
  • Swallowing
  • Coordinating more complex breathing
  • Extending out the tongue

These ‘crying’ periods would tend to last around 15 - 20 seconds (so, definitely not similar to a newborn making their debut into the world! 🙃).

Similarly, another 2011 study found a difference in facial expressions which also indicate that a baby is crying in the womb. 🤯

So, in short, yes — your baby can cry in the womb, but any audible crying doesn’t start until after the baby is born.

(And boy, don’t we know about it.) 🙃

At how many weeks can a baby cry in the womb?

Around 24 weeks and older, according to the same 2005 New Zealand study.

That’s not to say a baby smaller than 24 weeks wouldn’t be able to cry…

But there’s just less data around that to know exactly what’s going on in there.

Also, scientists tend to agree that, by the third trimester, babies can feel pain — which could make these ‘cries’ in the womb more frequent as the body prepares for labor.

How do you know if your baby is crying in the womb?

Well, that’s the thing…

You don’t really. 🤷‍♀️

The scientists who monitored the behaviors synonymous with crying did so using high-tech scientific methods.

But, alas — we’re mere mortals with no science-y stuff to help us out.

So, nope — it’s not possible to hear your baby crying from the womb until they’re born.

What else can babies do in the womb?

As well as crying, babies can do a whole bunch of other things in the womb before they’re born — so brainy!

So just what can they do when they’re in utero?


Poop 💩

Again, not in the way you’d imagine, but yep — babies can poop in the womb.

It’s referred to as meconium — a mix of old cells, mucus, water, bile, and lanugo (the downy hair the babies grow to keep themselves warm and cozy).

So, some of this meconium is pooped out in the womb, in around 12% - 20% of babies.

Who knew?!

Hear you 👂

Yep — babies could potentially hear you in the womb!

This study showed that babies respond to both touch and sound.

So, make sure you and your partner are communicating with your bump throughout the pregnancy, especially as in progresses into the third trimester.

You can talk to baby, read, or even sing to them. 🎤

Smile, blink, laugh, and yawn 🥱

Fetuses in the third trimester can show more regulatory behaviors.

They might be able to yawn, or cross their arms.

They are also able to blink by this point.

Babies in the womb develop a range of facial movements, which can also be identified as laughing, too!

So, there you have it!

Now you know that, yes, babies crying in the womb.

It’s their way of getting some practice in before they’re earth-side.

Want to understand more about how baby’s growing right now?

We know just the place… and we think you’ll fit right in. 🥜


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