Why you don't have to wait until your baby's born to start communicating - the benefits of baby talk in pregnancy explained.
Babies develop the ability to hear in utero at around 5 months gestation. Although they predominantly hear their mother's voice (because of their proximity to its origins) foetuses are also able to hear sounds outside the womb although these will be slightly muffled as sound waves become distorted as they travel through the amniotic fluid. You may notice that your baby responds to sounds they hear in the outside world by varying their pattern of movement; becoming increasingly active or more peaceful depending on your surroundings.
There is research to suggest that newborn babies recognise voices heard, stories read and songs played to them in the womb; with a mother's favourite song found to have a calming and soothing effect on her newborn regardless of whether it was a stereotypical 'classical' tune or not. While some people have taken this knowledge and run with it, suggesting in-utero educational programs and the like, there is little evidence to suggest that starting to 'school' your baby before they're even born is in any way beneficial to their intellectual development. It will however introduce them to the sounds and rhythms that are likely to be part of their everyday world once they are born.
While it may not be making them a genius, talking or singing to your bump does provide you with a fantastic means of bonding with your baby before birth. This can also be a great way for fathers-to-be to feel involved too. So, if you feel comfortable, set aside a little time each day to relax and communicate with your baby; try talking to your bump, listening to music and tapping the rhythm on your tummy or simply singing as you go about the housework.
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