Fetal Kicks May Help Babies Understand Their Bodies

FRIDAY, Nov. 30, 2018 (HealthDay News) — When unborn babies kick in the womb, they may be developing awareness of their bodies, British researchers say.

“Spontaneous movement and consequent feedback from the environment during the early developmental period are known to be necessary for proper brain mapping in animals such as rats. Here we showed that this may be true in humans, too,” said study author Lorenzo Fabrizi of University College London.

His team measured the brain waves of 19 newborns during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. The babies were an average of 2 days old, and some were premature. The researchers found a link between movement and brain activity.

For example, movement of a newborn’s right hand causes immediate activity in the left part of the brain that processes touch for the right hand. The size of these “fast brain waves” is largest in premature babies, who would normally still be in the womb, the researchers said.

The fast brain waves associated with movement end by the time a baby is a few weeks old, the researchers added……….

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