Can Babies Sense Pregnancy Before You Know – Debunking a Myth

By Maria Wilcox •  Updated: 10/16/22 •  7 min read
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If you already have a baby or toddler and feel you’re pregnant again, you may find yourself asking, can babies sense pregnancy before you know? After all, there are plenty of stories out there about moms whose babies and toddlers seemed to “sense” the good news long before mom spilled the beans. But is there any evidence of this being true? 

can babies sense pregnancy before you know

Can Babies Sense Pregnancy Before You Know

Can babies sense pregnancy before you know? 


But not in the way that you might think.

Babies are often very attuned to what’s going on around them. It’s been said that this intuition is the very thing that can help babies detect when something might be “off”. This may trigger them to cry, which can lead to a caregiver rushing by their side. But how sharp is this intuition when it comes to predicting the birth of a new baby?

Well, to be honest, there isn’t any hardcore evidence out there that suggests that babies know when you’re pregnant. There certainly aren’t any scientific studies to reference. But many moms proclaim that their toddlers outright knew they were pregnant without being told. And babies? Well, we’re told they “act out” and “regress” whenever mom is with child. 

So, is any of it true? Since there isn’t currently data suggesting that it is, I’m going to go with no. Thus, why might your little one suddenly be acting strangely now that you’ve got a bun in the oven? The reasons are several – stay tuned until the end to find out!

Can My 1 Year Old Sense That I am Pregnant?

Can your one-year-old sense that you’re pregnant? Probably not. But what he or she can sense is probably the many changes going on around them. Read on to learn more about how babies act when you’re pregnant. 

can babies sense pregnancy before you know

How Do Babies Act When They Know You’re Pregnant

Assuming that your baby does know you’re pregnant, you can expect each one to react differently. Still, remember that your baby is still young and may not exactly grasp the concept of what being “pregnant” may actually mean. 

If you haven’t revealed this to your baby but you feel like your baby instinctively knows, there are a few reasons they could be acting differently. They include the following:

Your Hormones Are “Off”

If your baby is still breastfeeding, he or she may be able to detect something different is going on because your hormones may be affecting the taste of your breast milk. This is especially true later in pregnancy. It isn’t uncommon for babies to dislike the taste of breast milk at this point. Some babies even wean because of it. Thus, if your baby is acting a bit strange when breastfeeding, this could be why.

They Can Sense Your Stress

Along with changing hormones often come mood swings and added stress. Bringing a new life into the world can cause stress for anyone. This is especially true when you already have a baby to take care of! And because stress often manifests as anger or mood swings, your baby is likely to notice it. 

In response to your mood, you may notice your baby developing a bit of an attitude of their own! But remember, they’re likely just responding to vibes they’re picking up from you. It may not necessarily be intuition in the sense that way that you might think. 

You’ve Changed Up Your Schedule

Becoming pregnant often means rushing to the loo more often, throwing up in plastic bags, dealing with sore breasts… and the list goes on. As you’re managing these things, you may find your schedule to be changing. And guess what? Your baby is noticing too! And because children function better when their day follows a predictable schedule, you may find your baby upset by the many changes going on around him or her.

Do Babies Get Clingy When Mom Is Pregnant?

Remember that clinginess, moodiness, and the like coming from your baby is likely a response that is attributed to how you’re acting. It can also be connected to a more frantic and stressful environment with changes to schedules and daily routines. It can also be a response to your changing hormones as these may affect the taste of your breastmilk if your baby or toddler is still breastfeeding

First Child Behavior When Mom Is Pregnant

Remember that no matter what age your child is, he or she is likely going to have to adjust to the feelings of having a new sibling. After being the only child for so long, he or she may have a variety of feelings that accompany the news. From anger, excitement, sleep regressions, and even fear, it can help to talk with your child about how they’re feeling so you can manage those feelings together. 

Of course, if your child is still a baby, you won’t be able to have a full-blown back-and-forth discourse about the matter. You can still speak to them (in baby-friendly language) about what’s going on. You can also use gestures and motions to describe what’s happening in your belly. 

Stories help with this age, too. And though your baby won’t be able to respond, it can still help to talk with your baby about the matter. Even if they don’t fully understand! 

Lastly, if your first-born child is indeed still a baby when you become pregnant, know that the adjustment to being the “second” baby may be incredibly hard. You may find your baby acting out or regressing after the baby is born. And though this may be frustrating, remember that it is also completely normal for them to feel this way. Eventually, they’ll get used to having a new play buddy– but it may take time! 

can babies sense pregnancy before you know

Can Babies Sense Pregnancy Before You Know? Probably Not…

So, can babies sense pregnancy before you know? Likely not.

But they can sense other things, like stress, changes in schedule, and changes in your mood.

Remember to be calm with your baby, despite your own feelings. Be sure to provide plenty of support for them, too. Having a new baby can be hard, but ultimately, the job of having two (or three or four!) children can be rewarding as well. 

Hang in there! Until next time!


Can babies and dogs sense pregnancy?

It is possible that hormonal changes in pregnancy may alert both your dog and baby that something is up. However, these changes are subtle, and likely will only be noticeable to your baby via your mood and/or possible breastmilk changes. Dogs may sense changes by way of smell, but this has not been confirmed through scientific study.

Do toddlers act up when mom is pregnant?

They can, especially if the environment around them changes. They may be reacting to your mood or a general sense of anxiety around them. However, it is unlikely that your toddler is acting up just because they sense that you are pregnant. 

Can a 4 year old sense pregnancy?

It isn’t likely. However, they may have heard you speaking about being pregnant when you weren’t aware that they were listening. Thus, any mention of a baby without having specifically told them may be attributed to that. 

Can toddler sense new baby coming?

Like babies, toddlers can sense minor changes around them. However, it is unlikely your toddler intuitively knows you’re pregnant without directly being told.

Maria Wilcox

Former instructor with an M.A. in Education turned grateful stay-at-home mama to one, I look to share helpful insights related to babies, toddlers, kids, and families for the benefit of real people just like you.

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