Early on in my midwifery training I was surprised to learn just how rich a learning environment your womb provides for your baby throughout pregnancy. Your baby's health and wellbeing throughout life is crucially affected during your pregnancy. Your baby begins to learn about the outside world even before they are born and are already being influenced by you and the particular world you live in.
As early as 16 weeks your baby will learn the sound of your voice and by 22 weeks your baby is able to recognise this before anybody else's voice. Other sounds need to go through your abdominal muscles, tissue and the amniotic fluid and are much quieter or muffled.
Your voice and sound vibrations, in general, are easier to hear due to the close proximity and because your baby is with you all the time he/she will hear your voice the most. Once your baby is born he/she will not only recognise, but prefer the sound of your voice over anyone else's. Experiments conducted confirm this by noting babies' sucking motions.
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Babies will suck slower when they are interested in something and suck quickly if they are bored or uninterested and research showed newborns show most interest in their mother's voice. In 2010 a study illustrated that your baby will cry in your native language to communicate more effectively. French babies cry on a raising note and German babies cry on a falling note which imitates the language. From birth your baby will be communicating specifically with you and learning how to communicate in your native language. How incredible is that!? https://www.uni-wuerzburg.de/en/sonstiges/meldungen/detail/artikel/sprache-be/
It doesn't stop there, by 32 weeks your baby's taste buds are fully developed and the flavours of what you eat find their way into the amniotic fluid which is swallowed by your baby. Research shows that babies up to 6 months prefer these tastes outside the womb. Your baby is being taught by you what is safe and good to eat and the culture your baby will be joining through food.
Your 9 month long process of moulding and shaping your baby ready for life outside the womb is complex and the daily tasks, food you eat, drinks you consume, air you breathe, chemicals you are exposed to and even the emotions you feel are shared in some way with your baby. Your baby treats these exposures as information and he/she process' it. Your diet and stress levels provide important clues to your baby in preparation for life outside the womb. They tweak your baby's brain and other organs giving us as humans the ability to thrive in an array of environments from deserts to ice-land. Mother nature knows what she's doing and so does your incredible body.
Learning is one of life's most essential activities and it begins during your pregnancy. You are the best teacher, you are the first teacher. Don't forget it!
For more information and advice from Modern Midwife Marie Louise visit https://www.mlmaternity.com/
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