Did You Know

Are Babies Born With Fingerprints?

After six months, when a fetus is about 12-inches big, it has fully developed fingerprints, and footprints, as those are also quite unique in every individual.

Do not worry, child. The Church is not prosecuting you for the ancestral sin. At least not yet. However, if they wanted to, they could easily track you down for the crimes you committed inside your mother’s womb because you, indeed, do have fingerprints!

Fingerprints on each human being on this planet are different. That is the excuse for the joke in the paragraph above, as that fact alone is telling us how essential fingerprints are in the real world. Since they are unique, only you can be responsible when they are found in situations that incriminate you. But what about babies? Are they born with fingerprints?

Three Months In - The Base Is There

Fingerprints develop fairly early for humans. As it goes through several phases, the fetus first develops pads, which will later be embedded with fingerprints. This happens only after a mother is three months long into her pregnancy. 

After another month of pregnancy passes, the baby’s skin starts to form, but it is very transparent and thin. At this time, the basal layer of the baby’s skin (the middle layer) quickly starts to grow, and it suddenly breaks out from the inner dermis and epidermis. The thin skin starts to fold, and this is technically the starting point where unique features of a fingerprint come out. 

Five Months In - Ridges Start To Form

The ridges you can see on your fingertips were very faint when you were in your mother’s womb five months into pregnancy. Since your hands are relatively free to move inside the womb, baby-you touches everything around with its fingers. However, inside the womb, there is something called the amniotic fluid. Depending on how dense this fluid is, and that varies from the womb to womb, the depth of the ridges also varies. 

The ridges you can see on your fingertips were very faint when you were in your mother’s womb five months into pregnancy.
The ridges you can see on your fingertips were very faint when you were in your mother’s womb five months into pregnancy.

Six Months In - Loops, Whorls, Arches: Fingerprint Complete!

After six months, when a fetus is about 12-inches big, it has fully developed fingerprints (and footprints, as those are also quite unique in every individual). The ridges that surfaced before can create three different types of patterns: loops, whorls, and arches. The purpose of these patterns is not to make the job easy on the police a couple of decades later if you turn into a thief, but to create a better grip.

Also, they help with the sense of touch, making the surface of our fingertips more fine-tuned. If you take a closer look right now, you will see these various forms of ridges across your fingertips, your palm, and, if you take your socks off to check - on your toes!  

The size and shape of these patterns, also known as dermatoglyphs, are influenced by genetic factors. But, studies show how numerous genes (and remember, we got 24,000 of those in our chromosomes) are involved in that process, so no definitive conclusions have been drawn. This is even more complex, as identical twins, who share the exact same DNA, develop different types of patterns on their fingertips. Finally, the same fingerprints you had when you were just six months old inside your mother’s womb, are the same that stay with you for the rest of your life.

When are fingerprints fully developed?

After six months, when a fetus is about 12-inches big, it has fully developed fingerprints, and footprints, as those are also quite unique in every individual.

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