Can babies hear in the uterus?

Learn about: Can babies hear in the uterus? from Alan Greene, MD,...
Can babies hear in the uterus? | Kids in the House
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Can babies hear in the uterus?

We used to think that babies in the womb were kind of floating around not doing that much. But it turns out they are learning faster before birth than any other time in life, at one point making 100K new neural connections an hour. It's incredible. They are tuned into the world in the womb, but also the outside world. At around 28 weeks of gestation, their little tiny ear plugs that have been in their ears all along fall out, so they can start to hear the world outside in a fresh way. And they pay attention. It's noisy in the womb, but they can hear conversations outside. And they can hear music outside. If they hear a song over and over, and you change one note, ultrasounds have shown us they will look up and wonder what's gone on. Because they expect the next note that's coming. Really cool study was done with language. They took moms and had them read one of two different stories, The Cat in the Hat or the King of the Mice and the Cheese to their babies during pregnancy. That after they were born they would set the babies up with these cool little radios where they could hear one of the 2 different stories being read. And the rhymes sound very similar. And all of the babies were able to change the channels themselves to hear the story that they had heard their mom reading to them. Now of course how do they tune a radio? Their fingers aren't very good. But where they do have fine control is in their mouth. So they actually had a pacifier. And the speed at which they would suck would change the stations. And the babies were smart enough at birth to change the station to get to the story that mom had been reading them. They recognized it and wanted to hear it again. And when the researchers switched what was on which channel, the babies cried, because they wanted to hear the end of the story. And 15 out of 16 of them went back and recycled through and learned the different frequency to hear the end of the story that their mom had been reading to them.

Learn about: Can babies hear in the uterus? from Alan Greene, MD,...


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Alan Greene, MD


Dr. Alan Greene founded his website,, in 1995, cited by the AMA as "the pioneer physician web site." In 2010 he founded the WhiteOut Now movement to change how babies are fed from their very first bite of solid food, and in 2012 he founded TICC TOCC – Transitioning Immediate Cord Clamping To Optimal Cord Clamping. He is an author of several books including Feeding Baby Green and appears frequently in the media including such venues as the The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, TODAY Show, Good Morning America, the Dr. Oz Show, and is a regular columnist for Parenting magazine. He is a practicing pediatrician and the father of four.

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