The Herald

Unborn respond to touch and voice

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BABIES in the womb respond to their mother’s voice and touch, new research has revealed.

Experts found a baby in the womb will make more sucking motions when touched or spoken to, compared to those who are left alone.

Scientists said the study gives “clear evidence” there is a response from an unborn baby to its mother’s touch or voice.

The team from the University of Dundee wanted to determine whether baby’s social engagement begins at birth or develops within the womb.

And scientists said the findings indicates that interactin­g with an unborn baby is not just “wishful thinking” on the part of the mother.

Twelve pregnant women, with foetuses between 25-33 weeks of gestation, attended 4D ultrasound sessions.

Mothers carried out five tasks, interactiv­e touch, interactiv­e talk, non-interactiv­e touch, non-interactiv­e talk, and a control, where no contact was made at all.

Interactiv­e tasks required mothers to speak to or touch baby over a two-minute period.

For non-interactiv­e tasks, mums were told a laminated sheet would be shown for five seconds, and in this time they should talk or touch.

The study found interactiv­e talk condition prompted increased levels of face-touching by baby compared to all conditions at almost a minute on average.

The baby’s levels of selftouchi­ng decreased in response to the mother touching her bump.

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