What babies learn in a womb?

For several years, doctors assumed that babies are born with practically zero knowledge about the outside world. However, a recent research has been questioning this assumption. It offers cues on:

  • What all babies comprehend when they are in the womb?
  • What all do they remember when they are born?
  • How is this information useful for them in this world outside the womb?

Doctors, today realize that babies engage in many senses and learn quite a few things during the last trimester of the pregnancy. Some begin learning, even prior to that.

What’s That Noise?

When the baby is inside the uterus, he can hear sounds beyond, the mother’s heartbeat, her burps, hiccups. For instance, if the mommy to be enters a construction site with blaring noise or a theatre with loud noise, there is a chance that the fetus will react to it. He may even display some movements like kicking or shifting around.

This does not mean that a baby will react to all the sounds. The most significant thing that a baby hears in the uterus is his mother’s voice. Towards, the seventh or the eighth month, the heart rate of the baby slows down slightly when the mother speaks. This indicates that the mother’s voice has a calming effect on the fetus. By the time, the baby takes a plunge into the outer world, he is mostly able to recognize his mother’s voice.

An Ear for Language

Whether you believe it or not, unborn babies do develop a fine ear for some peculiar sounds. Researches show that babies have already had their first lessons in their native language while they are sill in the uterus. So, when someone speaks in their mother tongue, babies will turn towards them however when something is spoken in a foreign language, they rarely pay attention to it. This in no way means, that a mom to be can directly converse with their swelling belly to give the baby a head start on the language. The fetus will pick the information he needs just by hearing his mother’ conversation with others.

Seeing The Light

The baby’s eyes are formed in the first trimester are usually shut until the seventh month. So, when they open the eyes in the uterus they are able to see. However, in the uterus there is nothing significant to see. Several studies have been conducted in this regard and it has been noted that if you shine a very bright light up inside the uterus, the fetus will usually turn away from the lightly. Ultrasound studies also reveal that fetuses tend to frequently open and close their eyes when the due date is near. It is their way of practicing eye blinking with an urge to see the outside world.

Discriminating Tastes

Fetus is only able to recognize tastes by the seventh or eighth week in the pregnancy. They’ll show reactions to taste like bitter, sour, sweet, by the end of 14th week. Ultrasound studies also reveal that fetuses lick the uterine and the placenta wall to understand the taste.


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