The Straits Times
www.straitstimes.com
Published on Nov 22, 2012
 

4-D scans show foetuses yawn in the womb

 
 

LONDON (REUTERS) - Growing into a fully formed human being is a long process, and scientists have found that unborn babies not only hiccup, swallow and stretch in the womb, they yawn too.

Researchers who studied 4-D scans of 15 healthy foetuses also said they think yawning is a developmental process which could potentially give doctors a new way to check on a baby's health.

While some scientists have previously suggested that foetuses yawn, others disagree and say it is nothing more than a developing baby opening and stretching its mouth.

But writing in the journal PLOS ONE on Wednesday, British researchers said their study was able to clearly distinguish yawning from "non-yawn mouth opening" based on how long the mouth was open.