Reading to your Baby in the Womb ? Congratulations on the head start !

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We plan so much when expecting a baby- the nursery, clothes, swaddles, prams, toys, and everything that we can think of. Everyone around us advises us to think good thoughts, look at pictures of beautiful babies, listen to good music, meditate, and read religious books because this will affect the baby. We are told that what we eat will directly affect the baby, but did you know that what we read also affects the baby in your womb?

Ever wondered if this is just an old wives’ tale, or is there more to this? How does reading to your unborn baby affect his growth? Can he/ she hear you?

Let’s find the answers to these questions and more.

Can Babies Hear you in the Womb?

Yes, unborn babies can hear. The story of Abhimanyu hearing how to enter the ‘chakravyuh’ when in his mothers’ womb is not entirely false. At 18 weeks of your pregnancy, the baby will start to hear its first sounds. As its hearing develops, it will start to recognize voices too.

Benefits for the Baby

Reading to the baby helps in brain development and language development. Babies who are read to regularly while they are in the womb, and after, generally start to speak early.

An exercise in Bonding

Reading to your unborn baby is a good bonding exercise. When the baby starts to recognize voices, the first voice that it hears will probably be yours. You can also have other members of the family read to the baby, so that he/ she can start recognizing their voices as well. This helps the baby connect with the mother and the father, and any older siblings. Once the baby is out in the world, he will be able to recognize the voices that read to him/ her. This also helps to build attachment, trust, and familiarity and sets a foundation for building long-lasting relationships.

Literacy Skills

Babies who are read to regularly develop a love for books and languages. They learn to recognize words faster and may even have a better vocabulary.

Relaxation for the Mommy-to-be

A mommy-to-be has so many things to think of and to plan, not to mention handling all the pregnancy weight, nausea, swelling, and aches and pains at all kinds of places. Reading to the unborn baby gives the mother some time to herself and can also help her relax and lower stress levels. Reading to the baby helps the mother to slow down and just enjoy this time between the baby and her.

What Books Should you Read to the baby?

You can choose any suitable children’s books for your child. Books with an easy rhyming pattern and simple words are the best places to start. You can also read short stories and nursery rhymes. Read the tales of fantasy and fiction, of unicorns and wizards, and stories of faraway lands. This will also help build their imagination. Your baby may not understand what you are reading to them, but he can hear the sounds, and he/ she can connect with the sound and the vibrations. The soothing rhythm of your voice is what the baby hears and connects with and starts to recognize, which is why the sound of the mother’s voice can instantly help calm a newborn baby; it is that sense of the familiar. Start working on building that bond with your baby right now and invest in some books to read to your angel.

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