5 weirdest things babies do inside the womb

Pregnancy can be a fascinating and eye-opening time for new parents-to-be

Written by Medibank
Pregnant woman holding echography of her baby.

So, you and your partner have successfully fallen pregnant, you’re through the early blissful stages of celebrating the big news with family and friends and you’ve navigated the first trimester.

At this stage you might be wondering what your baby is getting up to during the second trimester?

While everything from eyebrows and eyelashes to fingernails, fingerprints and the placenta are forming, there are some quite interesting things taking place during the extraordinary human journey that is pregnancy.

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Here are a few that might surprise you.

1. Sex organs are top priority

Early in the second trimester your baby is still only tiny -- around 25g -- but its reproductive organs are fully developed inside their body, and the genitals are forming outside their body. At around week 14, genitals become either male or female and by 20 weeks you should be able to learn the sex of your baby.

2. The crying has already started

Your baby may now be able to cry inside the womb. Researchers looking into the effects of exposure to tobacco and cocaine during pregnancy on unborn babies stumbled across evidence that babies can and do mutely cry in the womb. You’re unlikely to hear it though!

READ MORE: Newborns 101

3. It’s a hairy, sticky mess

During the second trimester, the baby is covered in fine hair all over its body, called lanugo, and a greasy, cheese-like coating of a white, waxy substance called vernix. While it sounds a little gross, the hair will shed and the vernix will help to protect the skin during the many weeks in the amniotic fluid.

4. The baby is drinking its own wee

It’s one of many milestones when your baby begins to swallow little bits of amniotic fluid, which pass into the stomach. The kidneys start to work and fluid swallowed by your baby passes back into the amniotic fluid as urine. Your baby will then swallow the amniotic fluid -- including its own urine -- and expel it back into the amniotic sac.

On the matter of number twos, in some cases babies can pass a poop-like substance called meconium while still inside the uterus, but the first poop is usually after the birth.

5. Baby hiccups are real

As adults we often associate hiccups with eating or drinking too much or too quickly. In fact, hiccups happen when these and many other triggers irritate the diaphragm. In babies, as their own diaphragm develops, it’s not uncommon for babies to experience the hiccups as a precursor to breathing and mum may be able to feel the hiccups as they happen.

READ MORE: Whooping cough vaccine: everything you need to know

Whether we’re talking the weird stuff or not, pregnancy is pretty amazing, and every experience you and your partner will have is all part of your individual journey. Celebrate them all -- weird or not -- and marvel at what the human body has been elaborately designed to do.

Written by Medibank

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