Double feature: amniotic fluid tastes like mom’s dinner.

By Seriously Science | July 3, 2013 10:00 am

Photo: flickr/archibald jude

I came across this pair of papers while reading through a new study indicating that babies may learn to like foods their mom ate before they were born. That was interesting, but the papers cited in the introduction were even more amazing. The first is a study in which they had pregnant women eat garlic capsules, then 45 minutes later took samples of their amniotic fluid … AND IT SMELLED LIKE GARLIC! The second paper describes cases of babies who smelled like spices and curry when they were delivered. Once again, I am happy that my mom never liked limburger or lutefisk.

Garlic ingestion by pregnant women alters the odor of amniotic fluid.

“Amniotic fluid samples were obtained from 10 pregnant women undergoing routine amniocentesis procedure. Approximately 45 min prior to the procedure, five of the women ingested placebo capsules, whereas the remaining five ingested capsules containing the essential oil of garlic. Randomly selected pairs of samples, one from a woman who ingested garlic and the other from a woman who ingested placebo capsules, were then evaluated by a sensory panel of adults. The odor of the amniotic fluid obtained from four of the five women who had ingested the garlic capsules was judged to be stronger or more like garlic than the paired samples collected from the women consuming placebo capsules. Thus, garlic ingestion by pregnant women significantly alters the odor of their amniotic fluid.”

Peculiar odours in newborns and maternal prenatal ingestion of spicy food.

“A peculiar odour in an infant may raise the possibility of several important syndromes. Four cases of newborn infants with peculiar smells are described. In two, the sharp odour was identified as cumin, one smelled of fenu-greek and one of curry. All these babies were born to mothers who ingested spicy food prior to delivery. In one case, the foul smelling amniotic fluid led to a spurious suspicion of amniotitis.”

Related content:
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Effect of milk on the deodorization of malodorous breath after garlic ingestion.
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Garlic: a sensory pleasure or a social nuisance?
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Scent of a wiener.


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Seriously, Science?, formerly known as NCBI ROFL, is the brainchild of two prone-to-distraction biologists. We highlight the funniest, oddest, and just plain craziest research from the PubMed research database and beyond. Because nobody said serious science couldn't be silly!
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