Why reading to your unborn baby is crucial?

December 21, 2017


Did you know? The songs you are listening to now are the ones which your baby will identify fairly easily after birth.

The 9 months when your tiny little one is still growing inside you, is the most exclusive time you will ever get with your baby. Babies recognize their mother’s voice inside the womb and by 18 weeks, they can clearly hear what you are saying. This miraculous thing can be used effectively for the baby’s overall development. And because the baby can hear your voice and connect with it, reading out to your baby will have fabulous results later on.

Best Time to Start Reading Aloud:

It’s never too early; however, by around 25 weeks the external sounds are extremely clear inside the womb and these last 10-12 weeks before the baby is born are the best time to give an early start to baby’s language development.

Reading to a newborn has a host of benefits, which includes language development, sound recognition, word recognition, the greater bond between parents and child. Below are just a few of the widely documented benefits of reading out to the baby:

  • Babies read to during the prenatal period, are more responsive to language, more aware of books and print language and are ahead in learning than those not read to.
  • Research also suggests that talking, reading, playing music to the unborn baby, stimulates better brain development.
  • Most moms are stressed about the impending childbirth to varying degrees. Moms who enjoy reading out to their unborn baby, tend to experience greater calm as per research.
  • Since reading out to the baby has calming effects on the mother, it indirectly also leads to better fetal heart rhythms (John Hopkins Study, 2008)
  • Cognitive Skills such as those required for good attention span, memorizing, etc. develop early on, when a baby is read to.

What should you read?

Well, while you can read aloud to your baby, almost anything that you enjoy reading, because it’s ultimately about your voice reaching inside; some of the popular reading choices for most expectant mothers include, nursery rhymes, fairy tales, short stories, and in India, there is a fondness for the simpler versions of mythological texts like Mahabharata & Ramayana. Short and simple stories and picture books are another favourite read among expectant mothers.

In all the busyness of preparing for your newborn’s arrival, take a moment out every day and talk to your baby. Reading builds a wonderful foundation of the parent-child relationship. It also acts as the activity which will help you as a parent, slow down, relax and experience the fun moments of your pregnancy.

About the author:

Shobhika Jaju has a Masters in Clinical Psychology from Mumbai University and holds a merit rank in Mumbai University for the Bachelors in the Psychology course. She manages & practices at Silver Linings: Guidance and Counselling Centre in Margao, Goa. Shobhika frequently writes for various print and online media, including Planet Goa, Times of India, ParentEdge and more & also held the features editor post for Planet Goa in the past. She believes in multitasking and juggles many hats at once, which includes the post of visiting psychologist at the navy hospital, as a counsellor at a primary school, and more. Shobhika also conducts workshops and talks at prominent institutes and organizations of Goa, on a regular basis. She is affiliated with the American Psychological Association, Bombay Psychological Association, Goa Psychological Association & the Movement for Global Mental Health. Her website can be accessed at www.silverliningsgoa.com