Your womb is a safe environment for your developing baby.
It’s a home that stretches to accommodate your growing baby, and one that keeps your baby safe from harm.
Oh, and it’s also a pretty good karaoke venue.
By week 16, babies in utero have fully developed ears, though it was previously believed they could not hear sound until later in the pregnancy.
A new research study from the Institute Marques found babies are able to hear and respond to music as early as the 16th week of pregnancy.
During week 16, babies are unable to hear music played outside the womb.
Researchers transmitted music internally through the mother’s vagina, and then recorded the babies responding to the music. Babies can be seen moving their mouths and tongues in response to the music, which gives the appearance of singing.
The music used in the study was Bach’s Partita in A Minor. The music was played to babies aged between 14 and 39 weeks, though the first response was not noted until 16 weeks. The older babies responded to the music with more striking facial movements.
The Majority Of The Babies Responded To The Music
The research, published in British journal Utero, found that almost 9 out of 10 babies responded to the music by moving their mouth and tongue. Around half of the babies were observed sticking their tongues all of the way out whilst listening to the music.
Lead researcher, Dr Marisa L pez-Teij, explained why music was transmitted through the mother’s vagina, “They barely hear the sound that reaches them through their mother's abdomen because the soft tissues of the abdomen and the inside of the mother's body absorb the sound waves”
“Learning Begins In The Womb”
The study’s co author, Dr Alex Garc, said: “Applying music emitted through the abdomen these movements in the foetuses were not observed. Our initial hypothesis suggests that music creates a response which manifests as vocalisation movements, as it activates the brain circuits that stimulate language and communication. In other words, learning begins in the womb.”
This study adds to our ever increasing understanding of how language and communication skills develop. It’s also thought the information may be used to diagnose deafness before birth. You can watch the full video of babies in the womb ‘singing’ along with music below:
Check out BellyBelly’s article on Tips For Bonding With Your Unborn Baby.