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Does light affect the baby while in the womb?

A mother's womb is a dark, yet comforting place for a developing baby. Although the immediate surroundings of an unborn baby are pitch-black, light can filter through the mother's abdomen and the baby can sense it. You can see how your unborn baby reacts to light simply by shining a flashlight on your abdomen.

Sensing Light with Closed Eyes

A foetus at 15 weeks gestation can sense light even though her eyes are still fused shut. If you were to shine a flashlight on your pregnant abdomen, your baby would likely move away from the light. Most likely, you will not be able to feel these movements, but if you do feel them, they will feel like little flutters.

Sensing Light with Open Eyes

At 28 weeks gestation, your developing baby has started blinking his eyes. Your baby's eyesight is developing and he may possibly be able to actually see the light coming through your womb. You still can play the flashlight game with your foetus. This time, you will definitely be able to feel your baby's movements as he moves away from the light.

What Your Baby Sees

If you ever wondered how your baby sees light inside of your womb, go outside on a sunny day and close your eyes. Your baby sees shades of red and orange depending on the brightness of the light being shined through your abdomen. The brighter the light, the greater the intensity of light your baby sees.

Other Ways Your Baby Responds to Light

The most obvious reaction of your unborn baby seeing light is that she will likely move away from it. An unborn baby has been known to respond to light shining on her mother's abdomen with heart accelerations. These are not harmful to the baby; they merely represent that the baby has been stimulated.

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About the Author

Christine LaFleur began her writing career in 2010. She has a featured blog on the What To Expect website, where she writes about her experiences in pregnancy and parenting. LaFleur holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.