22 Utterly Bizarre Scientific Facts About Pregnancy

How does a year-long pregnancy work for you?

1. Nipple stimulation is the only scientifically proven method of legitimately bringing on labour.

Getty Images / Jeffrey Hamilton

Rubbing or rolling a woman’s nipples when she’s full term can stimulate the release of a hormone called oxytocin, which can cause contractions. This method is called “the comfort technique”.

2. The longest known pregnancy lasted for a year and 10 days.

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Pregnancies normally last around 280 days, but as Beulah Hunter from Los Angeles discovered, sometimes they can last over a year.

3. Babies can taste the food their mothers eat in the womb.

Strong flavours like garlic can pass through the amniotic fluid in the womb, and a study showed that babies whose mothers drank a lot of carrot juice displayed a preference for carrot juice themselves.

4. There are more twins born in Central Africa than in anywhere else in the developing world.

Getty Images/iStockphoto Dirk Ott

5. And some people think it may have something to do with yams.

But there’s no real evidence to prove this.

6. It’s possible to fall pregnant through oral sex. In fact, one woman conceived after oral sex and a knife fight.

Getty Images/iStockphoto erikreis

A girl from Lesotho born without a vagina became pregnant when she was stabbed in the stomach after performing oral sex on her boyfriend. Seriously. This is an actual thing that happened.

7. From the second trimester onwards, babies pee in the uterus. Then they drink it. Then they pee again. Then they drink it. You get the picture.

Getty Images/iStockphoto isabelle Limbach

8. In fact, amniotic fluid is mostly sterile urine.

Getty Images/iStockphoto Jesus Jauregui

9. A baby starts making its first poo, called meconium, at around 21 weeks’ gestation. However, it won’t pass it until after its birth.

Getty Images/iStockphoto 3sbworld

10. Pregnant woman and new mothers can lactate automatically when they hear a baby crying (even if it’s not their own).

11. Baby girls are born with all the eggs they will ever use, but boys don’t develop sperm until puberty.

Getty Images/moodboard RF moodboard

Although some new research shows that women can produce new eggs later in life.

12. Rabbits, dogs, pigs, whales, and humans all start as eggs roughly the same size (around 0.2mm).

Getty Images/iStockphoto zhuzhu / Via welcomebabyhome.com

13. The old wives’ tale is true: Pregnant women who suffer with heartburn ARE more likely to give birth to babies with full heads of hair.

Scientists suggest that the higher levels of oestrogen and progesterone that stimulate hair growth also relax the oesophagus, causing acid reflux.

14. For every 2,000 babies, one is born with a tooth.

Getty Images/iStockphoto MilaSemenova

15. Having a baby boy can increase the mother’s risk of autoimmune diseases, and make her whatsitcalled worse. Forgetfulness, that’s the word.

Thanks, the patriarchy.

16. Babies cry in the womb.

Getty Images/Hemera

It’s clear from 4D scans that babies frown in the womb, but scientists have also been able to tell from measuring their breathing patterns that unborn babies also cry. This, they say, isn’t necessarily because they’re upset – they’re just practising.

17. A woman’s uterus expands to more than 500 times its normal size over the course of a pregnancy.

Getty Images/iStockphoto Alex_Beck

18. When a pregnant woman is full term, her placenta will produce more oestrogen in a day than a non-pregnant woman would produce in three years.

19. In addition to her uterus, a woman’s feet and heart increase in size during pregnancy.

Getty Images Elizabeth Hachem

Pregnant women’s hearts grow to handle the increased volume of blood in the body, and feet swell due to fluid retention and the stretchiness of pregnant ligaments.

20. A baby’s fingerprints are set within the first three months of pregnancy.

Getty Images/iStockphoto evgenyatamanenko / Via livescience.com

21. Orgasms can cause contractions.

Getty Images/iStockphoto Jyn Meyer

Not true contractions, but Braxton Hicks or “practice” contractions. Don’t get too excited, though, as simply having a full bladder can bring them on, too.

22. And this is how a baby’s face forms in the womb.

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