Bitter tastes don’t reach babies in the womb

Your pregnancy diet and amniotic fluid “flavours” in the womb affect your baby’s food preferences


Taste and what we do and don’t like to eat is affected before we’ve even left the womb, say scientists at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia. Foodstuffs, particularly those that are sweet, diffuse through the amniotic fluid during the third trimester, encouraging your baby to develop a predetermined liking for sweet things. Guess what that means? It’s your fault your kids love chocolate…doh!


In contrast, bitter tastes don’t transfer to your baby through the amniotic fluid. Mums do generally cut out a large part of their bitter diet anyway, as they tend to stop drinking coffee and alcohol. But, the inability for bitter tastes to pass to an unborn baby means newborn babies already dislike bitter food, hence the common childhood dislike of olives!

Whether your baby goes on to like salty food is reportedly influenced by your morning sickness. The worse you experienced morning sickness, the more your baby will like salty food (interesting that babies are thinking about food while you’re being sick!). Plus, the high glutamate content of breast milk means babies will learn early on to enjoy savoury foods like meat and strong cheddar.

Notably, while certain foods can’t transfer through the amniotic fluid, certain things, like alcohol and caffeine can transfer into your breast milk, so it’s important to be aware of dietary changes after birth too.


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