Talking to your baby in the womb

Pregnancy | | Louise Broadbridge


Talking to your baby during pregnancy is a great way of bonding with your unborn child, bringing all sorts of benefits to you, your baby, and your partner.

Reading books or singing songs to your bump can help your baby start to recognise certain sounds. If you play a particular piece of music or sing a song regularly during pregnancy, you may find your baby is comforted by these sounds once they are born. Talking a lot to your baby will mean that your voice is familiar and will help them feel at home once they are born.

It is also a great idea to encourage your partner to talk to your baby, so their voice is familiar to your little one, too. Talking to your baby can also help both of you start to see your child as a real person, which is great preparation for their arrival.

When can my baby hear?

Your baby will start being able to hear sounds inside your body from about 15 or 16 weeks of pregnancy. At this stage, the main sound your baby will hear will be your heartbeat and other sounds from your body like your digestive system. Your baby will also be able to hear your voice, so you can start having conversations with your little one before they are born.

At this stage, your baby may also be able to hear some muted sounds from the outside world and their hearing will gradually improve, enabling them to hear more and more as your pregnancy progresses. Research suggests that babies start to respond to sound from about 20 weeks, but don’t respond to external noises until later in pregnancy – around 26 to 30 weeks.

How to talk to your baby in the womb

Talking to your baby before they are born can seem a little strange and you might feel a bit self-conscious at first.

Don’t overthink it, though; your baby doesn’t care what you are saying, they just enjoy hearing the sound of your voice. If you’re not sure how to get started, you could just talk about what you are doing or simply read aloud or recite some nursery rhymes. Involving your partner at this time will help them bond with the baby – and hopefully when you finally meet, your baby will recognise both your voices.

When to talk to your baby in the womb

Some parents find it’s nice to get into a routine of talking to the baby at a particular time of day. If you find you’re both sitting down on the sofa at the same time, or perhaps lying in bed first thing in the morning, and you can feel the baby is awake, why not tell them what you’ve been doing all day, or what your plans are?

What are the benefits of talking to my baby?

Even though these conversations may seem very one-sided, they can help your baby’s development. The sound of your voice will help build new connections in your baby’s brain, which will help develop their sense of hearing.

Studies have shown that unborn babies are particularly responsive to the sound of their mother’s voice, and talking can help lay important foundations that will be useful when it comes to their language and memory skills later on. Talking to babies before they are born may also make it easier for them to learn new words, so it will help them learn to speak when they are ready.

It is thought that babies find the sound of their mother’s voice calming, so it can comfort your little one and help them to relax and feel emotionally secure.

Can talking to my bump make my baby move?

If you are trying to make baby move because you are concerned, you should contact your midwife. But, if you just fancy seeing if baby will move on demand, you could try a little bit of baby bump karaoke! You may find your baby responds to certain sounds or songs more than others – perhaps by wiggling along with the beat, or by calming down if they have been very active. And you never know, if they get to know their favourite song or theme tune now, you may well be able to use this to settle them during one of those soon-to-arrive sleepless nights!