How early is your unborn baby aware of you?
From the end of the first trimester, your baby will have developed enough of their senses to be aware of the world outside your womb. Many people start to talk, sing, and have physical contact with their bump right from the start of pregnancy.
What can your baby sense from inside the womb?
Babies start to develop their senses from as early as just a few weeks and a foetus can experience more than you might imagine.
Touch is the first sense to develop and by the eighth week of pregnancy, your baby has touch receptors on the nose and lips. These develop on other body areas and are almost complete by the 32nd week.
Your baby can hear sounds outside your body by around 20 to 25 weeks. By the third trimester, their hearing is fully developed. Inside, they can hear your blood rushing, your heart pumping, and your tummy rumbling. Although they can hear your voice best of all, they can also hear others’ voices too.
Your baby’s eyes remain closed until the seventh month but the eyes themselves are fully developed at birth. However, their sight remains neonatal and continues to develop after they are born.
Though your baby isn’t eating, they are swallowing amniotic fluid and can taste what you’ve been eating! So don’t be surprised if your baby is particularly active following a spicy meal or too much garlic.
Eight ways you can bond with your baby bump
What are the best ways to bond with your baby, even from the first few weeks of pregnancy?
Talk to your baby
Talking to your baby will help them get to know your voice. Sing songs, especially nursery rhymes and lullabies that you can sing again once they are born.
Take a warm bath
Relax you after a long day and while you’re soaking, chat with your baby and picture them inside you.
Touch and rub your tummy gently
Give them a baby massage; use a stretch mark cream at the same time to keep your tummy moisturised.
Put together a labour play list of soothing music and use it during pregnancy to help your baby feel calm at the moment of birth too.
React to your baby when they move and kick
They will learn to get a reaction from you! When your little one moves and kicks, put your hand where you feel it, press gently and chat to your baby.
Make the most of your ultrasound
Your ultrasound is another way to bond with your baby is your first chance to see them. Keep your scan photo close and look at it each day.
To experience what it’s like for your baby moving around inside you, go swimming. It’s a great way to get some gentle exercise that sends happy endorphins and additional red blood cells to your baby.
Practice hypnobirthing and breathing techniques
This will start to get your body ready for labour, help you stay calm and focussed and help oxygenate your blood.
Can babies sense their dad and caregivers in the womb?
Babies can hear voices other than their mother’s, though not quite as clearly. Encourage your partner to spend some time talking to and touching your bump. They can also learn to recognise other family members. If you’re wondering when your baby can hear dad in the womb, it’s probably from around 25 weeks.
Can your baby sense emotions in the womb?
There has been quite a bit of research done to try to find if your baby can feel in the womb. While we know that smoking and drinking can have negative effects on your baby’s health, studies have shown that other health problems in mothers, such as stress, can also cause problems for your baby. This means it is extremely important to learn how to manage and improve your mental health during pregnancy, learning how to spot the signs of stress and change things in your daily routine.
Hopefully, this also means that babies can feel when you’re happy too – for example, prenatal exercise and laughing release endorphins are to be encouraged, making us feel happier and better able to cope with stress.