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Should you Talk to your Unborn Baby?

The womb is an ideal sensory environment for your growing baby.

One of the first senses to begin to develop is your unborn baby’s sense of hearing. By 25 weeks gestation, all the major structures which are needed for hearing are now in place. Studies have demonstrated by 25 weeks gestation, unborn babies blink in response to sound. To begin with, your baby will hear only low pitched sounds - for example your stomach gurgling and the sound of your breathing. Then between about 29-33 weeks gestation, your baby will hear sounds outside of your womb, like the sound of your voice. The sense of hearing is the one sense which helps prepare your baby for life outside the womb. As the baby's mom, your voice is the first voice your baby will recognise when they are born. Studies have shown a mom’s voice has a calming effect on baby, as it is familiar.

So should you talk to your unborn baby?

Talking to your baby while they are still in the womb can help mom and baby to bond. If this is your first baby, it may take a little while to get used to talking to your baby. I remember with my first baby when I started rubbing my ever swelling belly and talking, the experience did feel a little strange. However, once I did it once or twice, I found it very relaxing and definitely helped me to connect to the fact I had a real baby developing inside my womb, making it all seem so much more real.

Taking time out of your busy day to concentrate and focus on your growing baby is an ideal opportunity to spend time talking and singing to your baby. Why not play some music, providing it is not too loud. Studies have demonstrated playing classical music stimulates baby’s cognitive brain development. You might even find the music you play to your unborn baby will have a calming effect on your newborn baby. This was something I found with all three of my children when they were babies. The music I played to them when they were in the womb was the music which had a calming effect on them as babies. A great tip for helping with that all important sleep when your baby arrives.

So find some time each day and practice gently massaging your belly, talking, singing and playing some music to your baby. You could tell your baby about your day, read a story and sing lullabies. You will also benefit from the experience as you will hopefully find the experience a relaxing time, present in the moment as you connect with your baby. All of this activity will lower you stress hormones which in turn will have a positive effect on your growing baby.

For more information on baby development, check out our baby development expert, Fiona.

About the Author

Fiona O’Farrell is a Paediatric Occupational Therapist, specialising in baby development, premature babies and is an experienced sleep consultant, validated by the department of health. For information on workshops and sleep consultations visit fionaofarrell.ie or Facebook. Call Fiona on 0879144323

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