By Dr. Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen
February 06, 2010
Dr. Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen are answering some of the biggest questions on the minds of pregnant women.
Can my baby hear anything inside the womb? Should I be reading or talking to him while he's still in my belly?
While fetuses hear much the way that we hear a next-door stereo—lots of bass, not a lot of high frequencies—they are able to hear voices filtered through tissues, bones and fluid. And by week 24, they recognize—and are calmed by—their mothers' voices. Of course, they can't distinguish one word from another. Rather, the rhythm and melody of voices they hear serve as their foundation for language. That's why so many moms read aloud to their children, even before that first night in the crib.
We strongly endorse that practice too—not just for brain development but also to allow your baby to hear your voice and establish an auditory bond at an early age.
We also encourage you to listen to all kinds of music during and after pregnancy. This will help stimulate baby's senses and improve his brain development. Exposure to different sounds and scenes is essentially what helps establish connections from one set of neurons—the nerve cells of the brain—to another. This is how we all learn. These neural structures are shaped like a tree and root system. A baby's brain is extremely plastic, meaning that it can constantly adapt and make new connections between trees.