Published On : Wed, Jun 19th, 2013

Babies in the womb react to mother’s voice

One of the most precious moments for a mother is when she literally gets to feel her child move and respond while still in her womb. Studies have proved that Babies in the womb respond to their mothers’ voice, even paying attention when they’re reading a story, a new study has found.

74 women who were 36 weeks pregnant were asked by the researchers from Johns Hopkins University in US to read for two minutes while their babies’ heart rate and movements were monitored. It was found that babies stopped moving and lowered their heart rate when their mother started reading aloud to them.

“The near-term foetus has a mature auditory system that reliably detects and responds to sound,” she said. The researchers concluded a mother’s voice ‘shapes auditory learning in utero with implications for postnatal recognition of, and preference for, the maternal voice’. Study lead author Kristin Voegtline say, “It is quite fascinating how the foetus learns to recognize and react to the mother’s voice before prior to birth – here, we showed that they can detect onset of maternal voice and differences in maternal voice”.

Voegtline even said the heart rate of foetuses lowered and movement stopped when mothers switched from chatting to reading aloud, the ‘Herald Sun’ reported.

The study was published in the Infant Behavior and Development journal.