Knowledge is power and it turns out that you are never too young or old to commence your learning journey. Studies done in recent years have found that prenatal learning is possible and takes place quite often (1). Even though we have no memory of some very early stages of our existence, the truth is that the learning we obtain in the womb generates in us certain sensations and associations that accompany us throughout life. How cool is that! This education is important as it is something you carry with you throughout your life. So, if you’d like to know how babies learn while they are still in the womb and ways to help your little one do just that, then this is the article for you. Keep on reading!
Education and prenatal learning is a subject that is not very widespread or well-known at a social level. This is because this kind of development isn’t just biological, it is also biopsychic and educational (2). This means that it is closely related to and depends on the contact and conscious or unconscious communication that parents have with the baby while it is still in the mother’s womb.
What Can A Baby Learn In A Womb?
According to recent research done by the acclaimed scientist Annie Murphy Paul, a baby learns from the time it is in the mother’s womb. And although it may be hard to believe, or even if it hasn’t been talked about so far, these learnings may be the most important (3). But what exactly do babies learn in the womb that is so crucial to their development throughout their life?
Well, babies know and learn the sound of the maternal voice. This is the voice of the person carrying the baby in the womb is, for obvious reasons, the one they identify most, and the one they like the most. Haven’t you seen your baby smile when you talk to them even if they are only a couple of weeks or days old? They know it’s you! They learn to recognise you through your voice which is prior to learning and association. They also learn about flavors. That’s right, your baby learns to pick up on flavors before they can even sample solid food. And this is how they develop preferences for food also. There are many of the flavors of the foods that the pregnant woman eats, and the fetus usually ingests them (4).
How You Can Teach Your Baby During This Stage
1. Through Touch
When you caress the baby with your hand or pass things with different textures over the womb the baby learns to pick up on these movements. This stimulus is transmitted until it reaches the brain and provokes movements on this part of the brain (5). How incredible is that!
2. Through Sight
No your baby doesn’t exist in complete darkness when in the womb. Did you know that both natural and artificial light can reach the baby through the womb with different intensities? In fact, many researchers have found that babies are more likely to see dots in the shape of a human face while in the womb (6). This shows that babies have a window to and react to the outside world way before they even join it.
3. Through Hearing
This might seem surprising but babies can hear while they are in the womb. How else do you think they are able to recognise the voice of their mother? It is with the sense of hearing that they are able to capture and perceive many of the things, situations, and people around them. The sounds made around them are registered and the babies keep them. However, they may not be able to remember some of the sounds in the future. At about 18 weeks into the pregnancy, the baby will be able to listen to the mom’s stomach sounds and heartbeat (7).
4. The The Motor System And Emotional State
While inside the womb, the baby is able to perceive whether the mother is in a stable position or not and this in turn can help them develop balance. Babies in the womb also have a very well defined sense of personal space which is something they derive from their inner ear. Fetuses can also perceive messages through the placenta which gives them intel on the mother’s mental and psychological state (8).
As unbelievable as it may seem, babies are smart enough to start learning while they are still in the womb. And with these little tips you can help your little one learn better so that they are well prepared to enter the world. Happy parenting!