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Can a 26 week old foetus see?

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DarrenK
897232.  Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:10 am Reply with quote

Appologies if this is a really dumb question, and further appologies if it has been asked before.

A friend of mine has one of those pregnancy progress apps on her Facebook page. Today, in the 26 week counter it says that the foetus can now see.

While I don't deny that its eyes have developed, I question the validity of the statement on two grounds. Firstly, how do they know, and secondly (and this may be where my ignorance on such matters stands out), exactly what can it see? Surely it would be pitch black in there?


Last edited by DarrenK on Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:12 am; edited 1 time in total

 
swot
897234.  Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:12 am Reply with quote

Are 26-week foetuses viable? Maybe they're basing it on babies born at that age who respond to visual stimuli.

 
AlmondFacialBar
897241.  Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:22 am Reply with quote

Well, for what anectodal evidence is worth, my twin aunts were 26 week preemies (in 1947, I've nothing but admiration for everyone else in the family for managing to help them survive), and they apparently did everything babies usually do, see and all, they were just very small and weak.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
Strawberry
897242.  Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:24 am Reply with quote

It says here that they can see.

 
DarrenK
897247.  Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:36 am Reply with quote

OK, thanks for the replies so far. Onto the second question, is it pitch black in there?

 
filofax
897249.  Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:51 am Reply with quote

i think they can see to some extent, in that their eyes can probably distinguish light and dark, but as far as I know, even full term babies can't see very well and don't start to focus until they are aroung four weeks old.

 
soup
897255.  Fri Mar 30, 2012 5:31 am Reply with quote

DarrenK wrote:
OK, thanks for the replies so far. Onto the second question, is it pitch black in there?


I am no prenatal expert but I would imagine that whilst you can't read in there the shade/light is the same idea as if you shone a torch through your hand. i.e. not able to see very much but not pitch black either.
Remember that the skin and any muscle in the abdomen will be stretched pretty tight and that there are no bones to the front or sides and only the spine to the back (there may be a bit of rib action but as the foetus is pretty much carried in the lower abdomen I wouldn't have thought these were significant).

 
AlmondFacialBar
897266.  Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:15 am Reply with quote

soup wrote:
DarrenK wrote:
OK, thanks for the replies so far. Onto the second question, is it pitch black in there?


I am no prenatal expert but I would imagine that whilst you can't read in there the shade/light is the same idea as if you shone a torch through your hand. i.e. not able to see very much but not pitch black either.
Remember that the skin and any muscle in the abdomen will be stretched pretty tight and that there are no bones to the front or sides and only the spine to the back (there may be a bit of rib action but as the foetus is pretty much carried in the lower abdomen I wouldn't have thought these were significant).


I'd think so, too. It would probably be dark-ish red in there, like when you hold your hands in front of your eyes. Apparently light even shines through bone, but my evidence for that is so utterly disturbing that I'll only post it on request.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
RLDavies
897270.  Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:23 am Reply with quote

According to Bill Cosby (admittedly not a medical expert), the only entertainment available in there is seeing what the mother eats. And possibly commenting on it. "Broccoli? No way!"

 
sally carr
897299.  Fri Mar 30, 2012 7:08 am Reply with quote

They can hear well in there, both of mine used to wriggle to music.

 
filofax
897303.  Fri Mar 30, 2012 7:16 am Reply with quote

apparently my mother once dropped the cutlery drawer when she was expecting me and gave me the fright of my (then very short) life. So the fight or flight reflex was already established.

 
Oceans Edge
897306.  Fri Mar 30, 2012 7:17 am Reply with quote

many mums-to-be will use head phones placed against their abdomen to play music to their children-to-be. There is some argument floating around (or at least their was in the mid/late 80's) that playing classical music to your unborn child would make it smarter. However, there was a lot of very yuppie notions about creating über-children in those days, so I'm kinda dubious about whether or not any proper empirical studies were done.

OTOH, I did it because I love music and I'm pretty much surrounded by it at all times, and like Sally, the babies really seemed to like it, and if it's not death metal played at ear damaging decibels it certainly won't hurt them.

 
filofax
897312.  Fri Mar 30, 2012 7:28 am Reply with quote

I have also seen ladies wearing little bells on a chain which chime musically above the bump. The theory is that when the baby is later screaming its head off and the parents are terminally sleep deprived, they should be able to ring a little bell and the child calms down. Pavlov's babies!
When Filoboy was born and was screaming through the trauma, my voice definitely calmed him. Yup, that worked really well for the first 30 seconds of his life. After that? Not so well.

edited to correct a rogue apostrophe.


Last edited by filofax on Fri Mar 30, 2012 7:36 am; edited 1 time in total

 
soup
897319.  Fri Mar 30, 2012 7:35 am Reply with quote

sally carr wrote:
They can hear well in there, both of mine used to wriggle to music.



With my eldest it was the Eastenders tune. Wife watched all the soaps when she was pregnant Eastenders was watched after all the days trials (buses, visits, WHY).

[Supposition] Son came to associate the Eastenders tune with sitting quite and doing nothing so after he was born would settle[1] on hearing the Eastenders tune.

[1] Mind you he was a really good baby. This may be me wearing rose tinted spectacles but I really can't remember him being in any way a problem when he was a baby.


Last edited by soup on Fri Mar 30, 2012 7:57 am; edited 1 time in total

 
Starfish13
897324.  Fri Mar 30, 2012 7:56 am Reply with quote

RLDavies wrote:
According to Bill Cosby (admittedly not a medical expert), the only entertainment available in there is seeing what the mother eats. And possibly commenting on it. "Broccoli? No way!"


Dr Huxtable's character was a gynaecologist/obstetrician in the Cosby Show, isn't that enough?

 

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