As any new mother will tell you….one of the greatest blessings of pregnancy is that it gives you time to prepare for the birth of your baby. It’s a time to get the nursery ready and purchase all the necessities for your newborn. More importantly, those nine months provide a new mom the opportunity to bond with her unborn child. So, it’s not surprising that many women talk, read and sing to their ‘baby bump’ on a regular basis. It is this interaction that not only nurtures a deeper connection between mother and child, it also offers a number benefits for the baby -inside and outside the womb.
Stimulates auditory senses- Research shows as early as 14 weeks a baby’s auditory senses begin to develop. Healthcare providers encourage talking, reading or singing to your ‘baby bump’ throughout your pregnancy- especially during your second trimester. The sound of a mother’s voice and the words she speaks while pregnant aids in auditory stimulation and builds important neuron connections in the brain- which are responsible for hearing.
Fosters learning and speech in the womb- Studies indicate that singing to, reading to and talking with your unborn child is an enrichment approach that can enhance a baby’s intellectual development. The sound of a mother’s voice also plays an important role in a baby’s hearing and language development. According to researchers at Harvard Medical School, “a mother’s voice may be directly linked to development of the auditory cortex – the part of the brain which processes language.” Additionally, there is amazing new evidence that indicates babies have the capacity to learn patterns of language while in utero. This occurs because the sound processing parts of a fetus’ brain are active in the womb- especially during the last trimester. It is through the mother’s abdomen they can hear rhythms of both speech and music.
Nurtures brain and sense stimulation– It is essential that both parents engage in communication with their baby in the womb. According to experts, when both parents talk to their baby it helps them differentiate the sounds and voices of each parent. Typically, fathers have a higher pitch; while mothers have a lower one- so when the baby is exposed to different intonations it aids in their brain development, along with the development of a baby’s five senses.
Aids in social development- Amazingly, when a parent engages in conversations with their baby after their birth, his or her brain cells will recall and remember the words you spoke to them while in the womb. Research now suggests that recollecting and remembering both words and dialects enables your baby to learn language and expand their vocabulary much more quickly-which aids in the development of their social skills.
Health benefits– There is no doubt that singing just makes a person feel good, but singing during pregnancy has a number of health benefits for both mother and child. When an expectant mother sings to her unborn child, it improves her mood and increases her energy by raising her endorphin levels. Studies also indicate that singing can help reduce pain and increase oxygen levels for both mother and child; improve sleep, boost immunity, clear the sinus and respiratory tubes and increase a new mom’s confidence. Furthermore, the soothing vibrations of a mother’s voice can even relax and calm both you and your child- thus, reducing tension and stress.
The nine months a woman is pregnant is a wonderful opportunity for fostering a nurturing and meaningful connection with your baby. The womb is literally a ‘sensory playground’ where so much growth and development occur. Talking, reading and singing to your ‘baby bump’ undeniably will lay the groundwork for learning through experiences, repetition and associations so your baby girl or boy is prepared for their world outside the womb.
The greatest gift any new mom can give to their child during pregnancy, and after, is the sweet sound of your voice- which you can use to comfort, soothe, and relax your child for the many years ahead of you. Without a doubt, having an early connection with your baby will develop into an extraordinary bond between the two of you…a bond so loving and strong, it will be one that will last forever.