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everephebe's avatar

How healthy would a baby be, born in space?

Asked by everephebe (11559 points ) January 23rd, 2011 from iPhone

How healthy would a baby be, born in space or 0G? Provided that the baby was conceived, developed and born in zero gravity. What effects would a lack of gravity have on the baby in the womb, on the pregnancy?

Would there be major birth defects, or would the baby come out completely symmetrical?

Theories, thoughts and science appreciated… Thank you.

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11 Answers

Mikewlf337's avatar

Never thought about it..LOL Space Baby!

jaytkay's avatar

I can’t answer the question but here are a couple of relevant articles.

According to Russian news agency Novosti, baby cockroaches conceived aboard a satellite in September have apparently grown up to be faster and tougher than their terrestrial brethren. Link

Butterflies orbiting on the International Space Station have given up on flying in the reduced gravity and instead walk around their enclosure, according to researchers studying the insects.

…It was the first time researchers confirmed that the insects could develop normally through three growth phases in microgravity…

“They basically learned really quickly not to fly,” Countryman said. “When they try to fly, because there’s no gravity to stabilize them, they basically tumble” Link

iamthemob's avatar

I don’t know if the effects would be that significant during conception (this is just me thinking it through – no back up…)...just because that development occurs in a fluid and sealed environment – so it’s almost like a simulated 0G environment.

But there may be more gravity effects than I’m giving it credit for.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@jaytkay wow, that is really interesting!

PhiNotPi's avatar

I don’t think that there would be any sort of major problems resulting from 0G.

However, problems would arise when that person, after growing up in space, expiriances gravity for the first time. We already know that in space, since your muscles don’t really have to work to move around, there can be major muscle loss. Muscle loss can be so drastic that sometimes astronauts have to be taken off the Space Shuttle in a wheelchair, because they could no longer walk. There is also bone loss over longer time periods because the bones no longer have to support your weight. So, someone who grew up in 0G may become severely disabled when they return to Earth.

gondwanalon's avatar

I suspect that not much infant abnormality would occur from the baby development from gametes through birth. Assuming that no radiation particles from outers pace could reach the developing baby.

The real damage would occur if the baby was left to mature for a couple of years at zero gravity. The poor little thing would likely have a very minimal skeletal structure (bones, ligaments, tendons and cartilage) and be far to weak to survive back on Mother Earth.

Mikewlf337's avatar

Humans were never designed to float around in zero gravity in the first place. I wouldn’t recommend giving birth in space.

Ron_C's avatar

I think the baby could be born normally but would develop severe problems like bone density, extreme height problems, and weak muscles that were poorly attached. A baby raised under such conditions to adulthood could never return to earth.

It would be an expensive and cruel experiment to test this theory.

lillycoyote's avatar

NASA probably has a lot data that would help sort this out and answer the question but it seems that a fetus is already floating around in a sort of zero gravity environment any way, in the womb. But as mentioned by others, there would be a lot of serious effects on the child’s physical development if the child remained in a zero gravity environment.

XOIIO's avatar

@lillycoyote Mu thought’s exactly. You can’t strap a baby to a space-stairmaster

Austinlad's avatar

He/she wouldn’t be an airhead.

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