Are you talking to your growing bump, mama? Reading stories? Singing lullabies or playing your favorite music? If you are, you might be wondering when babies can hear in the womb.
In this article: 📝
- When can a fetus hear?
- When can a fetus hear the mother’s voice?
- When can a fetus hear dad’s voice?
- When can babies hear music in the womb?
When can a fetus hear?
At about 18 weeks, your baby will start to hear sounds that your body makes: your heartbeat, the breath coming in and out of your lungs, and the gurgles of your digestive system.
A couple of months later, between 27 and 29 weeks, they’ll be able to hear some of the sounds outside of your body, too, including your voice.
Your baby might start to respond to sounds around this time.
At 27 weeks, one study found, 96% of fetuses responded to fairly low frequencies.
By 35 weeks, they were all responding to slightly higher frequencies as well.
Your baby is surrounded by a lot of amniotic fluid as well as all the layers of your body, so the sounds they hear are quite muffled.
This means that they’ll be able to hear the pitch of your voice, but not specific words; the tone of a song, but not the lyrics.
When can a fetus hear the mother’s voice?
Your voice is the sound your baby will know best by the time they enter the world.
Every time you speak (even if you’re not speaking directly to your baby), your voice reverberates through your bones.
For the little being you’re incubating, this sound will start to become more and more familiar.
By the time you’re in your third trimester, your baby will be able to recognize your voice.
Studies have shown that, when mamas speak, their little one’s heart rate increases, which suggests that they’re more alert (how heart-melting is that!).
Speaking or singing to your baby at this late stage of your pregnancy might help to comfort them once they’re born.
When can a fetus hear dad’s voice?
Partners, friends, and family members, don’t worry – your unborn baby, godchild, or grandchild can hear your voice, too.
Babies can hear other voices around the same time they can hear mama’s.
In fact, since babies can hear low-pitched sounds first, they might be able to hear men’s voices better than women’s.
The more regularly they hear a voice, the more familiar it’s likely to become.
Chat away, dad!
When can babies hear music in the womb?
Your baby will be able to hear music from the early stages of your third trimester.
You might have heard rumors that playing classical music can improve your baby’s IQ
There’s no scientific evidence that this is true, unfortunately, but it won’t harm your little one.
In fact, feel free to introduce them to any music you enjoy, especially if it helps you relax, too.
Research done with sheep fetuses (which, the researchers said, is the animal of choice for pregnancy studies), found that fetuses are more likely to hear heavy bass notes while they’re in the womb.
If you’ve got tickets to a concert, mama, rock on!
The physical barrier of your body will help to protect your baby and their hearing.
It’s probably a good idea to avoid noisy environments on an ongoing basis, though.
If you work in a noisy factory, for example, speak to your employer about working somewhere else during your pregnancy.
Talking, reading, singing, and playing music to your little one – both while they’re inside and once they’re born – is also a great bonding opportunity.
Enjoy this special time, mama.
🤰 More on baby development from The 411:
Your Pregnancy Week-by-Week Guide
Understanding Fetal Brain Development
Embryo vs Fetus: What’s the Difference?
All You Need to Know About Early Decelerations
How Long is a Pregnancy?
Pregnancy Weeks to Months: Your Calculator
When Does Baby Drop? And Why Does it Happen?
5 Ways to Advocate for Yourself During Pregnancy and Postpartum