A foetus can get an erection at 16 weeks, here is why

Did you know that foetuses can experience erections in utero as early as 16 weeks?

Erections as early as 16 weeks.
© Getty Images
Erections as early as 16 weeks.

Erection is a normal phenomenon. It occurs when the male sex organ—the penis—gets rigid due to an external stimulus. A lesser-known fact, though, is that an erection can also happen in the womb.

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Nevertheless, a foetus having an erection can be a little disconcerting, especially for mothers. If you are unsure about its normalcy, here is a guide to understand why male foetuses get an erection in utero.

4 reasons why a foetus might have an erection

As adults, we associate a man's erection with sexual gratification. However, this is not the case with a foetus. The erection of a foetus does not lead to ejaculation, which can only take place once the body has completely developed, after the age of 12.

According to research, it is completely normal for the penis to get erect since its formation for a number of biological factors. It is anything but a sexual response.

1. Normal reaction to touch

The penis is a very sensitive organ. Often, the amniotic fluid may alter the delicate state of the penis in a foetus, causing the erection.

2. Sign of nervous system functioning

The penis begins to be stimulated by nerve impulses. The corpora cavernosa muscles, which supports the penis when erect and contracts during ejaculation, is a result of signals from the brain and local nerves. The erection thus proves that the nervous system is performing aptly.

3. Full bladder

An erection in the foetus can also mean that the bladder is full, in which case, the foetus simple needs to urinate. It is nothing to worry about, the urine is carried out through the urethra and into the amniotic sac.

4. The penis is cold

Since the male genitalia is a tender region in the human body, even a slight temperature drop can change the state of the penis from flaccid to rigid.

Babies also get erections

Don't be surprised if your child's penis isn't as little all the time. There are several reasons why your infant gets an erection too. It can happen when the diaper scrapes against the genitalia, during bathing the baby, while breastfeeding, or any other slight sensations near the penis.

So, what should you do about it? Well, not much.

There is no reason to worry if your baby gets an erection. But if the erection persists and turns red, he must be taken to the paediatrician right away!

Be careful to never make a child feel ashamed of their erections. Most often than not, a baby finds their penis amusing. Gently explained the dos and don'ts of an erection, but never oveareact.

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