Why It Is Important to Read to the Baby in the Womb
Contrasting beliefs about whether a mother’s voice is filtered out by the time it reaches the womb can discourage some mothers from reading to their unborn babies. Although the baby may not be humming Mozart tunes or reciting lyrics from Shakespeare, reading can develop rhythm and melody recognition.
Many experts believe that reading to babies in the womb promotes development of early education and can be an effective tool for soothing and calming a baby throughout growth.
Babies are thought to begin learning the foundations of vocabulary and language while they develop in the womb. Babies begin to recognize their mother’s voice and associate the voice with security. Reading to a baby in the womb may also increase early intelligence and emotional development by processing the sounds of words and language.
Reading to your baby while in the womb creates a bonding experience for you and family members who participate in reading experiences. Reading to your baby is especially important to allow dads to feel an intimate bond with the baby. Some fathers otherwise may may feel as if they are participating in the pregnancy only as a spectator.
William Fifer, an associate professor of developmental psychobiology at Columbia University, performed research that proved newborns respond to the sound of their mothers’ voice when presented as it would have sounded in the womb.
Fifer and his research team played filtered recordings of a newborn’s mother’s voice as it would have sounded in the womb as well as random women’s voices and gave newborns pacifiers with attached pressure transducers. The newborns reacted to their mother’s voices by sucking harder, signifying that they were capable of determining their mother’s voice from those of random women.
There is not sufficient evidence to prove that contraptions such as audio devices that pregnant women strap to their bellies to play story narrations or music are effective or beneficial. It is possible that the sound waves created from such devices may be extremely amplified in amniotic fluid due to the property of sound traveling faster in water and fluid.
Always use caution when using any device they may stimulate your unborn baby. Always consult your doctor before using any device that will emit sounds or promote movement in your unborn baby.