There is a laundry list of interesting facts and figures about pregnancy and newborns, but I’ve kept a list and checked it twice (yes, just like Santa) and here are a few things that you may or may not have known. These factoids are in no particular order, but take a read through and see how many you know already!
#1—The umbilical cord is full of jelly
No joke. The cord is filled with something called “Wharton’s Jelly”. Why? To make sure that the vein and arteries that run through the cord don’t get accidentally squashed or crushed! The cord contains one vein and two arteries: the vein brings oxygenated blood from the placenta to the baby; the arteries take away waste materials and de-oxygenated blood from the baby to the placenta. So you can imagine, when baby is born, they go through a quick shift from not breathing air to being out in the world! It’s the Wharton’s Jelly that makes the difference! As soon as the jelly cools, when out of the mother’s body, it collapses the vein and arteries, effectively clamping them off.
#2—The umbilical cord has no nerves
So cutting the cord doesn’t hurt you or your baby. Phew!
#3—Baby pees… and drinks it
Okay, I have to admit that even this one made me shudder when I learned about it. Basically, after a few months in utero, baby begins to pee into the amniotic fluid and since they also drink the amniotic fluid… well, you can see where this is going. On the plus side, we all did it, so it’s not like you can lord it over someone, saying: “You drank your pee! Na na na boo boo!” because you did too!
In addition to pee, at about four or five months gestation, the baby will also be able to ‘taste’ what Mom is eating, via the amniotic fluid, if it’s fairly strong in flavor. For example, if Mom favors food with garlic, baby will be able to taste it and might even develop a preference for it before they are even born.
In the last few weeks before birth, the placenta is producing more estrogen in one day than you would experience in three years, if you weren’t pregnant! So those mood swings that you were experiencing at the beginning of pregnancy but which levelled off for a while in the second trimester will be back!
Your uterus starts out being about 3” x 2.5”. During the course of your pregnancy, it will grow to 500 times that size, to accommodate the baby. In other words, it starts out the size of an orange and ends up the size of a watermelon!
#6—Calling the Tooth Fairy!
One out of every 2,000 babies born in the US will be born with a tooth.
#7—Newborns like sweet but not salt
Until about the age of four months, babies can’t taste salt. Sweet, sour and bitter? Yes. Salt? No.
#8—Babies are bony
They have 300 bones, compared to adults, who only have 206. Over the first months and years of life, many bones fuse together but, for example, the bones of the skull are in several parts (hence the fontanel, or soft spot) that eventually fuse to make the skull into a whole, by about age 2.
So, of this list, did you know them all? Or did I surprise you with a few? Being a postpartum doula or a Newborn Care Specialist for different families means I get to experience a lot of different pregnancies and newborn babies, but one thing that is always constant: they never fail to amaze me! If you need an extra pair of hands or help with your new baby, check out our services!