Document Detail

Attractiveness of amniotic fluid odor: evidence of prenatal olfactory learning?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  8922088     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Human infants are responsive to maternal odors beginning shortly after birth. In several non-human mammals, the fetus is capable of olfactory learning and in some species neonates are attracted to the odor of amniotic fluid (AF). The present study examined the responses of newborn babies to AF in a biologically relevant context, i.e. during their initial attempt to locate the mother's nipple/areola. We observed newborns' spontaneous choice between a breast with the nipple/areola moistened with AF and an untreated breast; 23 of 30 infants chose the AF-treated breast. All babies had been washed before the observations, and only 12/30 sucked their hands/fingers prior to approaching the nipple/ areola. In a previous study with unwashed newborns, the corresponding proportion was 27/30 (p < 0.001). We tentatively suggest that the observed attraction to AF odor may reflect fetal exposure to that substance (i.e. prenatal olfactory learning). Because of the salience of biological odors for neonates, products that eliminate or mask such cues should be avoided during the perinatal period.
H Varendi; R H Porter; J Winberg
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Acta paediatrica (Oslo, Norway : 1992)     Volume:  85     ISSN:  0803-5253     ISO Abbreviation:  Acta Paediatr.     Publication Date:  1996 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1997-02-18     Completed Date:  1997-02-18     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9205968     Medline TA:  Acta Paediatr     Country:  NORWAY    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1223-7     Citation Subset:  IM    
Tarlu University Children's Hospital, Estonia.
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MeSH Terms
Amniotic Fluid*
Breast Feeding
Embryonic and Fetal Development*
Infant Behavior*
Infant, Newborn

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