In Utero Reading – Fact or Fiction?

We all know at least one person that swears their unborn baby can hear them talking, and we all know that couple who read to bump! But, is there an actual reason to do this, or do we just like the thought that our little ones have a bond with us before they’re even born?

Well, we know that by roughly 23 weeks babies are able to hear sounds, not only from the ‘outside’ but also from the inside. This means your unborn baby can hear your voice and music and can also hear your heartbeat, breathing and all other crazy things that go on inside your body! So it’s hard to believe that reading to your bump doesn’t increase the bond and effect your baby on some level before being born.

As we have discussed in other blogs, listening is a vital part of cognitive development in early baby and childhood. So, perhaps you can start this development in utero? If at 23 weeks your unborn baby is developing the ability to hear sounds, why would reading to your bump not stimulate the nerve pathways and start to develop your bubs brain in a way that they would be able to respond more quickly to vocabulary and language after being born? It all seems perfectly plausible.

At this crucial time your baby is forming all the nerves and neurological pathways they need to be able to hear, which is obviously a crucial part of language development later on in life. Once these pathways and connections have been made (inside the womb) your baby is able to hear low frequency sound. This means, from as early on as 23 weeks, your teeny tiny human should be able to hear your voice. Obviously they will not be able to make sense of what you are saying. But, it has been said by some that they will be able to recognise rhythm and tone. It has been said your baby will start to recognise these elements of your voice, and your voice will become a strong soothing element to them. There is the bond that mothers talk about. Knowing your baby before he or she is even born.

Many people, for many years, have played classical music to many bumps, all over the world. Its strongly believed that playing such music is highly positive for their unborn child. Now, this comes down to energy frequency – its no secret that classical music evokes positive energy. So, why wouldn’t you play it for your unborn child right?

However, some have said the positive effect is actually had on the mother, which the unborn child then feels. A relaxed and stress free mum has a relaxed and stress free bub, we’ve all heard that one. It’s down to hormone change. If mum is relaxed, hormone release will let her unborn baby know this, and thus the baby will also be relaxed. Either way, the outcome is only positive. Whether the music has an effect directly on baby, or an indirect effect as a result of mums reaction, the baby is still feeling comfort and soothing energies that help with growth, development and bond establishment. Who doesn’t want that for their little peanut?

The same principle can be applied to reading. Reading is a great way to create some positive vibes and chill out. It’s excellent for the brain and can truly give you some time out. Whether you’re 9 or 90, reading has the same effect on the brain. Younger children will develop language skills from reading, as will adults. Older people will maintain those neurological pathways and their speech and language skills through reading. It’s positive all round. When have you ever heard that reading is bad for you? This translates to your baby. Whether they get a direct affect through the sound of your voice, or simply feel soothed and comforted from hormonal changes in your body, as you relax into a book!

To put it simply, you will only ever get positive results from reading to your bump. Is it truly known if your baby will thrive more quickly when it comes to speech and language? No, perhaps not. But, it will certainly not be detrimental to their health. And, anything that makes mum happy and relaxed will only make your baby feel the same! So grab a book, and get reading to bump!