Unborn Babies Feel Anger and Joy, Says Heidelberg Study

Unborn Babies Feel Anger and Joy, Says Heidelberg Study February 9, 2014

They are happy. They are angry. They are fearful. They like music. And already, they like sweet treats.

In fact, babies in utero experience a wide range of sensory input at a much earlier stage of development than once believed. That’s the result of a study from Heidelberg psychotherapist Ludwig Janus, reported February 9 on kath.net, the on-line German-language Catholic newspaper.

Dr. Janus’ research showed that the unborn child can already feel emotions, such as anger and joy. According to him, there is a close connection between mother and child, through which the developing fetus “is confronted with a whole range of feelings and sympathises with them.” So the unborn baby could be angry in the womb or have fear, but also feel joy and satisfaction.

By eight weeks, the fetus has developed a sense of touch. Ultrasound images show the fetus, for example, reaching to touch a strip along the umbilical cord to reach the uterine wall and grope its surroundings.

The sense of taste can be tested as early as thirteen weeks. Janus reported that just as newborn infants like the taste of sweet fruit water, so does the developing fetus prefer sweeter tastes; and U.S. researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center (Philadelphia) demonstrated that the fetus will swallow more of the amniotic fluid if it is sweet, rather than bitter.

At seventeen weeks, the developing child has a well-developed sense of hearing—experiencing first the mother’s heartbeat, the sound of her blood and the rumblings of the stomach and intestines, later the maternal voice, and then other voices, music and everyday sounds. When scientists played “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” five times per week at this stage of development, then measured brain waves after birth, the newborn group who had heard the song in utero responded positively to the tune. Ludwig Janus, quoted in a Saxon newspaper, said, “We are experiencing in the womb, sentient beings and capable of receiving sensory stimuli from our environment and process.”

The sense of sight is complicated. Nuremberg perinatal expert Dr. Franz Kainer reported that the eyes are fully formed by the sixteenth week, but it takes until the 25th week before they are fully operational. At that stage, they are open and moving freely during periods of wakefulness, and closed for sleep. Visual acuity has not yet been fully tested, though, in the darkened environment of the womb.

The sense of smell does not come into play in the womb, because it can’t operate in the liquid environment.  However, soon after birth the sense of smell assumes great importance, as it will help the baby to recognize the mother and to find the way to her nipples. 


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  • All I can say is Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! How precious!

  • Mosin Nagant

    I remember

  • Fallulah

    Doesn’t matter. Can’t survive on own, not viable.

    • Angel

      Lame argument, can a 2 year old survive by himself or herself?
      Think before you speak!

      • Fallulah

        Obviously a 2 year old can live outside the womb. I’m not the one who needs to think!

        • The question wasn’t if a 2 year old can live outside of the womb. The question was, can a 2 year old live with no adult support at all. Answer the real question.

          • tigalily

            Lame argument. If you go by that definition a child up to the age of 8 probably wouldn’t be able to survive on it’s own. So would personhood be achieved only at 8? No. What Fallulah is saying about viability is that a fetus ONLY relies on it’s mother for nutrient/support…and cannot survive without her.

            A two year can survive without it’s mother as long as another adult takes care of it.

            Another adult cannot take care of a fetus.

          • erin

            Dependency does not negate personhood — at least, not yet. See patients in hospitals, people in comas, people sleeping . . .

          • normajean

            check your history books on Nazi Germany..they denied “personhood” to a whole range of folks..starting with the unborn, then the handicapped, mentally ill, etc etc to a whole ethnic group..slippery slope my friends..which we are all on in the US..

          • Karl Leinfelder

            Normajean; those were wonderful remarks and so true. In this beautiful country we are truly on a slippery slope. Most of us believe that we are in this life preparing for the next. I’m afraid that the attitude and actions of many of us will result in experiencing a next life that is far below our expectations. So many of our decisions and attitudes about life are based upon what we can do to experience a self fulfilling existence. Thanks again.

          • I just looked it up, you are technically correct, but I find the line you draw to be just as prejudiced as those who would draw the line at 8.

          • Fallulah

            Finally someone with a brain gets it!

        • normajean

          certainly not on their own for very long! My granddaughter is 2 and she wouldn’t be able to make herself a meal let alone get a glass of milk by herself..so she would be considered “not viable” on her own..your words..not mine!

        • Lucy Sheffer

          Can a 1 week old newborn baby survived on it’s own? Can you take a newborn to an island and left him there to survive on his own? So if we determine they can not survive on their own thus they are not viable, should we then discard all newborns, say until they can take care of themselves? how about a 6 months old baby? can he survive on it own? You need more than just thinking, you need a soul. Go ahead and fight for the whales and dolphins while you butcher the children!

          • Fallulah

            Yes let’s save every single bundle of cells in existence. And yes a new born can breathe and feed on its own. You are dumb.

          • Guest

            I don’t know what happened to you in this life, It seems you are holding much pain and grief in your soul. I will pray for you. And while you heal, could you please document how the baby will survived in a deserted island? I mean, is he going to limb trees and pick coconuts? go swim and catch fish? LOL! who is dumb?

          • Lucy Sheffer

            I don’t know what happened to you in this life, It seems you are holding much pain and grief in your soul. I will pray for you. And while you heal, could you please document how the baby will survived in a deserted island? I mean, is he going to climb trees and pick coconuts? go swim and catch fish? LOL! who is dumb?

      • Lucy Sheffer

        So describe the meaning of “viable” in terms of human beings? a grandma in the hospital in need of care to survive? is she not viable? a patient in a coma in need of oxygen machine to survive, is he not viable? a 1 week old newborn in need of being feed and care to survive is he no viable? a cancer patient in need of treatment to survive, is he not viable? can only those who do not need any external help at any time (who are they by the way?) can be consider viable? ridiculous and ignorant assessment to excuse the murder of a innocent and defendless human being!

    • Lucy Sheffer

      Perhaps if you are injured in battle and put in a coma, with all your organs and body parts are intact, and the possibility of you making it is very real, yet you can not survive on your own, we should consider you non viable and discard you like trash?

  • oregon nurse

    I just hope some of these studies are not taking place on babies about to be aborted. Some of them seem pretty invasive and therefore perhaps not likely to be taking place unless harm to the pregnancy is not a concern. If I remember correctly those very early videos of babies in the womb that everyone oohhed and aawwed over on PBS were filmed just prior to an abortion.

  • tigalily

    Umh was this paper published in a reputable journal? and was it peer reviewed?

  • Mike

    Yeah but can he have 3 parents? And if he can why can’t they be married parents?

    Oh look, it looks like they may soon be able to:

    And they said polygamy wasn’t even an issue.


  • JoeBurly

    As much as I would like this to be true, I don’t see any references, or any way for me to get more information outside of a German Catholic news site.

  • Eliruth

    Senior in California, US– Yes, we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”, as
    the psalmist said (Psa. 139)–with an immortal soul that can worship and glorify

  • EKMcM

    I have a problem remembering much at all before maybe 3 or so yrs. ( I am now 73). This is off the wall, I wonder if a person could be age regressed, under hypnosis, and remember anything from their life in the womb??