From hiccups and thumb sucking to stretches and yawns, it’s incredible to see some of your baby’s earliest movements through a 3D/4D ultrasound. But while our HD baby ultrasounds can show you what your baby’s doing inside the womb, you might be wondering what they can actually hear from the outside world. Read on for the answers to 5 common questions expecting parents ask about what their baby can hear while they’re in the womb.
When can my baby start to hear in the womb?
Beginning in the second trimester of your pregnancy (around week 18), your baby can start to hear some limited noises from inside your body, such as your heartbeat or the gurgles of your stomach. Over the next few weeks they’ll hear more and more of the outside world, and by weeks 27 to 30, they’ll actually begin to react to the voices and noises that filter into the womb. By the time your baby reaches full term, they’ll be able to hear at about the same level as an adult.
What can my baby hear in the womb?
Great news for you – the clearest noise your baby will be able to make out is yours. While most sound is transmitted through the air and then through your uterus, the sound of your voice reverberates through your bones and the rest of your body so that it’s amplified. It seems that your voice is also their favourite one to hear, too, as studies have shown that a baby’s heart rate increases when they hear their mama’s voice. Whether you’re reading out loud, chatting with friends, or singing along to your favourite tunes, every time you speak your baby will be getting even more familiar with your voice.
Don’t worry, partners – babies also learn to recognize other voices and sounds that they hear frequently while they’re in utero, especially once they’re in the third trimester. They’ll likely start to recognize their sibling’s voice, your cat’s meow or your dog’s bark, too!
What does it sound like in the womb?
Even when your baby’s ears are fully developed, the sounds they hear in utero are still muffled. Think about it: between their ears and the outside world is amniotic fluid, the amniotic sac, plus all the layers of your body. Definitely pretty tricky to hear through all of that! The louder a sound is, the more likely your baby will be able to hear it, such as a barking dog, a honking horn, or a wailing siren. The good news is that if you live in a busy city, your baby will get used to those types of noises while they’re in utero, making those sounds less likely to startle them after they’re born.
Should I read to my baby or play music for them in utero?
Like we said earlier: your baby’s favourite voice is their mama’s voice. Whether you want to read some classic children’s books to them or sing-along to your top karaoke jams, they’ll love hearing you more than any other sounds.
You might have heard that playing classical music for babies in the womb will boost their IQ, but there’s no hard proof that this is actually the case. So feel free to play your favourite tunes from any genre, and sing along to help your baby hear your voice and soak up the familiar sounds.
Should I avoid loud noises while pregnant?
For the most part, there’s no reason for you to avoid a loud situation while you’re pregnant, so have fun at that concert you have tickets for, and don’t forget to sing along! Again, the many layers between your baby’s ears and the outside world makes sounds muffled, so even very loud noises for you won’t sound loud to your baby. Only extremely loud noises for continuous periods of time (say, the sound of mowing your lawn for eight hours straight) are potentially a risk for hearing loss in a growing baby.