Study: Babies Drawn to Faces Before They’re Born

Few things compare to looking down at a newborn’s sweet face. And, turns out, your newborn likes looking at faces too. A 1991 study showed that newborns prefer faces to other shapes or objects and will look for faces after they are born.

Unborn Babies Are Drawn to Faces

A new study has shown that it’s not just newborns that prefer faces. Unborn babies in the third trimester of pregnancy also show this same affinity for faces. It seems searching for faces is an instinct babies possess even before they are born.

Using techniques similar to the 1991 study on newborns, the researchers shone red dots into the wombs where 39 babies were growing, and monitored the babies using high-definition ultrasound. Each baby saw the lights five times each. When the dots were configured in a face-like shape, with two on top and one on the bottom, babies tracked the lights 40 times. When the configuration was changed, they only followed the lights 14 times.

The lead author of the study stated, “It’s definitely a robust finding. . . . What matters is the difference between the conditions.”

This large statistical difference between the babies’ response to the orientation of the lights suggests babies are indeed drawn to faces even in utero.

Highlighting the Humanity of the Unborn

Our culture today tries to downplay the humanity of the unborn in an attempt to justify abortion.

Our culture today tries to downplay the humanity of the unborn in an attempt to justify abortion. If unborn babies are as human as you or I, how can anyone possibly justify allowing a doctor to violently murder them at their own mother’s request before they are born? You simply can’t! The only hope for keeping abortion legal is to downplay the fact that the unborn are human.

But studies like this, among many others, highlight that the unborn are fully human. A baby doesn’t magically transform from a blob of cells or tissue into a tiny, unique individual once it exits the birth canal. Nothing changes except location. The baby is just as much a baby before it is born as after.


Get the latest answers emailed to you.

I agree to the current Privacy Policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA, and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.

Learn more

  • Customer Service 800.778.3390