THESE are the amazing pictures that prove unborn infants are able to do more things than doctors realised. They show a 6cm foetus walking, kicking and stretching at just 12 weeks - long before the mother feels any movement.

WOMB WALKER

By Caroline Jones, Women's Editor for the Mirror UK Periodical

LIFT LEG:

Groundbreaking ultrasound scan clearly shows the tiny infant raising right leg, weeks before mother will have felt it moving about in womb 

ON BENDED KNEE:

As baby wriggles around it raises a knee towards its stomach in another of the images that surprised Professor Stuart Campbell 

KICK OUT FOOT:

Now the infant lashes out. Professor Campbell admits his detailed pictures will help to fuel the debate over abortion 

At 18 weeks the baby opens its eyes and blinks. Experts previously believed foetuses' eyes stayed shut until 26 weeks. In the pictures, taken with new 4D ultrasound scan technology, the foetus is also seen rubbing its face aged just 10 weeks and yawning five weeks later. Others show the child smiling at 22 weeks. which doctors thought happened only six weeks after birth. The incredibly detailed scans are sure to spark fresh calls for new curbs on abortions, 80 per cent of which occur before 13 weeks. 

Prof Stuart Campbell, who pioneered the 4D technique, admits they have forced him to change his views. The obstetrician said even he was taken aback by the scans. He said: "When I began I was startled at how early many of the crucial foetal developments take place. I'm forever being asked by mums, 'When does my baby start sucking its thumb? When can it blink?' Now we know exactly when these milestones occur." 

"We've always thought babies had their first smiles six weeks after birth, but the images show sunny smiles from 22 weeks. "I believe they're a reflex response to pleasure - the womb's a very warm and comfortable place to be. "Conversely, when giving foetuses a tiny push to turn them around during ultrasounds, I've seen the side of their mouth turn down in a definite frown of annoyance." 
Prof Campbell, of the Create Health reproduction clinic in London, also found that at 14-15 weeks infants can suck their thumbs. And they can touch their index finger with their thumb at 17 weeks.

Under current law, terminations must take place before 24 weeks. 

The exception is if the mother's life is in danger or if there is risk of "grave, permanent injury" to her mental or physical health. Prof Campbell is not anti-abortion but said: "Having seen how early babies begin to develop, my beliefs have changed. "I now think 24 weeks, if the baby is healthy, is too late. Seeing how advanced a foetus is at this stage makes the idea of ejecting it from the womb quite disturbing". "The world is a different place from 1967, when the abortion law was first passed [in the UK] and science has moved on. Now we know so much more about how a baby develops in the womb the law needs to be reassessed, but in a calm, reflective way."