“What can be taught to my baby in the womb?”
I keep repeating this anecdote very often, from the Hindu epic, ‘Mahabharata’. Padma-chakravyuha, a skilled defensive formation on the battlefield used to defeat the opponent from entering into strategic locations on the war field is used rarely. To crack the formation and budge onto the other side it requires strategy and utmost practice. But, Abhimanyu, a prince and son of Arjuna, one of the Pandavas, learns how to break it while he is in the womb of his mother.
While only mythology believers may find this story fascinating, I have some scientific validation too. Science provides evidence of your child’s ability to learn in the womb.
Scientific proof that learning begins in the womb.
Science confirms that babies in the womb don’t just grow in body but also in the brain. Babies undergo monthly milestones that refer to different sensorial developments. They learn from all five senses — touch, taste, speech, smell, and sight.
Let’s begin with what speech pathologist Melissa Wexler Gurfein has to say about what mothers should do with their babies in the womb. She suggests, “continue to talk to her newborn from the moment of birth to help facilitate language development.”
In addition to this a Finnish group published in the September 10 issue of PNAS (U.S.). Titled “Learning-induced neural plasticity of speech processing before birth”, suggests according to their research that as a child in the fetus is exposed to speech, its brain responds, records and remembers some words.
Minna Huotilainen from the University of Helsinki confirmed that in her study her team has been recording the electroencephalogram, a continuous signal from different parts of the brain. “For both the correct and incorrect notes, the brains of babies prenatally exposed to the melody had a stronger response than the unexposed babies, suggesting they had learned and remembered the melody during the fetal period.”
Hence, it is your motivation and ability that decides what exactly you would teach your child-to-be-born.
Babies can be taught based on their monthly milestones while inside your womb. You can find a detailed schedule of what could be taught to your child in the womb, for each month of your pregnancy in our library of articles.
What can be taught to your baby in the womb?
Here I talk about what and how. The detailed aspects are available in the month-wise learning schedules. After reading the list don’t be astonished; I’m not talking about cosmic science. This is something every pregnant woman can implement, experience and achieve provided they believe in it.
- Breathing: Moderate the breathing pattern of your fetus and yours, by watching your breath carefully. Yoga is a process that can regulate your breathing. It is not just the breathing exercises prescribed in the yogic system, but also other limb and abdominal exercise that affect breathing patterns. Prenatal Yoga sessions would be most appropriate to induce calming breathing patterns to the baby in the womb.
If you are someone who already practices yoga, then you can continue exercising during pregnancy. If you are someone who wants to try this specifically during pregnancy, then it is best to consult your ob (doctor) about the right time to begin before enrolling into any prenatal yoga class.
- Emotional & Spiritual Intelligence: Yoga helps a great deal in insinuating connections that spurt emotional and spiritual intelligence. However, meditation also helps pregnant women to a great extent in accomplishing this objective. Meditation comes in different forms and you need to choose what suits you best. You can review the list of different types of meditation available for pregnant women.
The objective of each type of meditation is different. Some come with a claim to enhance concentration, while some promise alignment of mind into a different frequency.
- Music & Rhythm: Music is a complex pattern of harmonized sound frequencies put together. These patterns put together to create a melody that is reproduced either by an instrument or voice. Rhythm similarly is symmetric beats positioned at different intervals to compliment the melody. Babies in the utero can comprehend both melody and rhythm. Which means if you sing, play an instrument or dance, the baby will be exposed to them while in utero. Here is a video that went viral.
- Language: You can start teaching language to the baby in the womb right from the utero. Some prenatal advocates recommend reading books to your child while in the womb. In fact, some suggest reading out loud to your child with a sense that your child is hearing what you speak. Research says that babies start picking language patterns, and vocabulary from the womb. It is proven that when the baby starts to consciously learn languages in the real world, they tend to have speedy progress in learning new languages.
5. Smell and Taste: Some activities that are taken for granted while you are pregnant are cooking and eating. What could your baby possibly learn from such activities? A child’s sense of taste and smell starts right from the womb. UT SouthWestern Medical Centre mentioned that “Some flavors, such as vanilla, carrot, garlic, anise, and mint, have been shown to be transmitted into the amniotic fluid, which babies live in and routinely drink several ounces of each day.”
To achieve better smell and taste senses, indulge in conscious eating and cooking while you are pregnant.
6. Managing stress: Teaching your little one to manage stress right from the womb would be a great boon you could reward as a mother. Annie Murphy Paul mentions in her book Origins and in her TED Talk, “Don’t worry too much about stress: research shows that moderate stress during pregnancy is associated with accelerated infant brain development.”
7. Happiness: Why not happiness? With stress, you can also teach happiness. The simplest way of doing this is by staying happy all through pregnancy. The good vibrations pass on to your little one. Four chemicals can make you happy. The more you manage to produce these four chemicals, the more will you be happy. Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin, and endorphins. Exercise helps in producing dopamine. Yoga, Pilates, swimming, jogging are some activities which you try during pregnancy. Hugging, and spending more time with your loved ones and the baby would help in producing oxytocin. Eating good food can help in producing endorphins. And, generous activities like donating will help you add serotonin.
8. Spirituality: Some eastern cultures advocate pregnant women to spend a substantial time in prayerful thoughts, chanting, visiting religious places, or a spiritual guru. Irrespective of your religion, you can find ways of instilling a spiritual atmosphere while you carry the little one.
9. Analytical Thinking: The elite and the scientific community spend a lot of time learning and exploring Maths. Parents run through a lot of anxiety during the growing years of children to ensure that they receive the basics of mathematics. You can begin this also in the womb. Analytical intelligence is what the baby would be introduced to. Get started by solving puzzles, and playing chess or checkers. Just for fun, you could also join a math club of wizards. Apart from this intake of Omega-3, folic acid, and vitamins would help in building neural connections.
While these are a few skills and stimuli you can provide to your baby in utero, you may want to understand what is the best time to introduce them. In some of our upcoming articles, you will see find detailed schedules for each month that could be used by you during pregnancy.
Research and References:http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/foetuses-learn-memorise-words/article5240316.ece https://menstrual-cycle-calculator.com/when-can-babies-hear-in-the-womb-and-what-should-they-listen-to/http://www.lifenews.com/2015/04/21/5-amazing-things-unborn-babies-can-do-in-the-womb/http://www.utswmedicine.org/stories/articles/year-2017/sensory-development-utero.htmlhttps://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/smart-baby/201309/womb-world-reading-and-talking-babieshttps://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brain-waves/201705/the-magic-reading-aloud-babies