From early on in your pregnancy, your unborn baby is already more like a newborn than you might think: they sleep, move around, and listen to sounds. Just like newborns, fetuses spend most of their time sleeping, but it’s what they get up to when they’re awake that expectant parents are always the most excited to see. Hiccups, thumb sucking, stretches, and yawns – it’s incredible to see some of your baby’s earliest movements and expressions through a 3D/4D ultrasound.
But before you come in for a 3D or 4D fetal ultrasound to see your baby’s movements for yourself, let’s learn more about what your babies are doing all day in the womb.
First movements: As early as the ninth week of pregnancy, your baby will start making their first movements. Although most moms-to-be won’t feel any fetal movement until around weeks 18 to 22, these early movements can be seen through a 3D baby ultrasound. While your baby’s first muscle movements are involuntary, their earliest voluntary muscle movements start around week 16. From that point onwards, whether they’re awake or asleep, your baby will move 50 times or more each hour, by flexing and extending their body, moving their head, face, and limbs, and exploring their home through touch.
Hiccups: If your belly is suddenly feeling like a popcorn popper, chances are your baby has a case of the hiccups. Unlike with kids and adults, eating too fast isn’t the culprit behind fetal hiccups – rather, they’re simply a side effect of your baby trying out all their new abilities in the womb. Fetal hiccups are just the little movements that your baby’s diaphragm makes when they begin to practice breathing. As they inhale, amniotic fluid enters their lungs and causes their diaphragm to contract. The result is a case of tiny hiccups in utero! And while most pregnant mamas won’t feel their baby’s hiccups until the beginning of their third trimester, 4D baby ultrasounds can show them as early as the first trimester, when the baby’s diaphragm develops.
Thumb sucking: Believe it or not, HD baby ultrasounds have shown us that babies start putting their thumb in their mouth as early as 13 weeks! Although their sucking muscles won’t be fully developed yet, they still begin this self-soothing habit well before they’re even born. Babies have a natural sucking reflex, so this activity is a normal way for them to calm and comfort themselves
Making facial expressions: From smiles to frowns, babies in the womb develop a wide range of facial expressions. Through a 4D ultrasound, we can clearly see babies begin to slightly turn their lips into a smile at 24 weeks, and by the third trimester babies can make more complex expressions, including frowns and grimaces. Like with fetal hiccups, these movements are most likely due to your baby experimenting with their new skills as their brain matures. However, from a personal perspective we have noticed over the years that some babies we image just seem to smile more than others and also the reverse is true; some little ones just seem overall more grumpy than their counterparts.
Yawning: For years, 3D ultrasounds have caught babies with their mouths wide open in the womb – but more recent research has proved that they’re not just stretching their mouths, but they’re actually yawning. Although we still don’t know exactly why babies yawn in the womb, researchers did learn that the number of yawns a fetus has per day declines after 28 weeks, so one theory is that yawning is just a part of the baby’s brain maturation, and then they move on to the next developmental phase.
Opening eyes: Even before they’re born, your baby can open their eyes in the womb. Around the 24th to 27th week of pregnancy your baby will open their eyes for the first time, and soon after they’ll be able to keep their eyes open and blink them when they’re awake. Through a 3D/4D ultrasound, you can see your baby move their eyes and look around. Although their eyes aren’t fully developed yet, they are able to see dark, light, and movement – but they aren’t able to focus properly quite yet.
Come watch the miracle of life unfold before your eyes at our intimate Markham studio. At Baby in Sight 3D, we are the first in the industry to offer HD Live (5D) which is the latest and greatest in 4D imaging. See your baby hiccup, yawn, and smile like never before with incredibly realistic clarity and extraordinary image quality.