Do you believe that babies can learn even before birth? Yes, they can
Latest research has revealed that babies can be stimulated while they are still in the womb by methods such as talking and singing and that it tends to boost their visual, language and motor development. Prenatal stimulation provides a safe environment for your baby before as well as after birth which is key for long term success.
Your fetus experiences many sensations; hearing being the fastest developing sensation. Towards the end of the second trimester, your baby starts to hear. The mother’s voice is well perceived while background sounds such as the mother’s heartbeat, breathing, pumping of blood, gurgles of the stomach, and air filling the lungs are heard internally. Your unborn baby can also hear muffled noises and music coming from outside.
How do we initiate communication with the baby?
Your baby is the one who initiates communication. Encourage him/her to kick; whenever he/she kicks, touch the opposite side (merely the place where the head is) and say, “Kick baby kick. Kick-kick-kick”. Keep your tone of voice enthusiastic, entertaining and patient. This can be repeated several times and eventually the baby will learn to kick a point on the abdomen in response to the mother touching that spot and saying, “Kick, baby, kick here’’.
Play relaxing music to the baby; can be nursery rhymes too. Although your baby is well protected inside the womb, make sure not to place high volume headphones directly on the baby bump. It’s wise not to play music too loudly and frequently to your baby. You can sing nursery rhymes to your baby when he/she is awake; caressing your baby bump.
Who’s my pretty baby
Who’s my pretty little baby
You’re my, my pretty little baby
Hey Hey pretty babe
Hey Hey pretty baby
Ho Ho pretty little baby
When you speak, sing or play music to your baby in the womb, her/his heart beat may increase and your baby may move more. Mothers are welcome to be creative in their own way to stimulate the baby and repeat the same after the birth. You may find a wiggly and alert response from your newborn to what they heard regularly in the womb.
Read small stories to the baby. This will make the baby comfortable while in the womb. The same voices and stories will then comfort the baby after birth, which comes in handy on nights when the baby is fussy and doesn’t want to sleep. The mother’s voice is heard best by the baby in the womb. Teaching parents how to talk to their unborn baby forms love and trust, and provides a strong supportive background for the child to grow and learn. Continuation of same story rhymes and songs are essential to incite the desired response from the baby. Development of speech and language skills is an ongoing process and prenatal stimulation definitely forms the strong baseline for long term success.
About the Author: Ms. Hiranthi Karunarathna is a Speech Therapist at International Modern Hospital with 4 years of clinical experience in Speech Language Pathology. She specializes in stuttering, autism spectrum disorders & other childhood communication disorders. Her experience includes both pediatric& adult rehabilitation care.