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Moms and dads are always singing songs to their newborns or reading them stories, but should you be doing that before they are even born? Does sound have an effect on an unborn baby in the womb? Can they hear you singing in the shower or having brunch with your friends? Most definitely! Numerous studies have concluded that babies still in the womb can recognize voices and hear what’s going on in the outside world. 

According to PregnancyView.com, around week 16 your baby's ears have developed and they will start recognizing sounds and voices. 

“Reading, singing or simply talking to your unborn baby can help you bond with your baby before he or she is even here,” says Ciara Polikretis, Doula and Founder of Women's View. “Studies have shown that babies recognize voices after they are born, particularly their mother's voices.” 



Babies may respond with increased movement, even becoming startled at loud noises. 

In 2008, Johns Hopkins University reported during a study that a fetus responds positively to heart rhythms when a mother is relaxed while unborn babies are startled by loud noises, rock music, and so on. By 24 weeks, babies are calmed by their mother’s voice. It’s the rhythm and melody of the voice since they can’t make out what’s being said, said Dr. Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen to Oprah Magazine

Also, it’s simply just a great way to bond with your baby and for you, your partner and baby to all bond together. But it certainly has some effect on the fetus.

Once your baby is developed enough, he will even respond to your voice.

Polikretis says she and her husband sang a favorite childhood song to her belly every night before they went to bed. Their daughter started crying immediately when she was born. Her husband began singing the same song he had every night and their daughter stopped crying right away and listened to his voice. Now, that same song continues to calm their daughter.  

“Pick a favorite song or short passage from a book that is easy to remember or holds a special memory for you,” she suggests. “It doesn't really matter what it is, the important part is the repetition so baby will recognize it.”

So, if you’ve ever heard of a mom-to-be reading to her belly, singing a favorite song or even playing classical music for her tummy, she’s not crazy! She’s bonding with her baby and preparing it for life outside the womb. If you’re pregnant, give some these ideas a try! 

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