When can a baby hear in the uterus?
A: Sometime between in the fourth and the fifth months your baby will respond to sound. It is also around this time that most mothers report feeling their baby move inside the uterus for the first time.
The ear itself forms from three different components in three different directions around the eighth week of embryonic life. (The developing baby is called an embryo during this stage of development.)
From the embryo’s thin skin, a space forms on either side of the back of the brain (hindbrain). This becomes the inner ear. The inner ear contains our auditory and balance organs.
Shortly after that happens, the outer ear develops. The outer ear connects the auditory canal and the outer side of the eardrum.
The middle ear then develops the auditory bones. These bones are referred to as the hammer, anvil and stirrup. They develop as a bulge from the pharynx.
Infections during the early weeks of development may result in malformations of the ears and future hearing problems. The most serious of those infections is German measles.
As the pregnancy continues the baby can hear more and more sounds. It really must be like a symphony inside the mother.
‘The baby hears the mother’s stomach and digestive system process food, the mother’s heartbeat, the blood flowing through her blood vessels and many more sounds.
Singing to the growing baby is a tradition in many cultures. I played the piano for my babies.
When a baby is born, he or she turns to their mother’s voice from the very beginning. You know that they have been listening to that voice and recognize that that person is very special and necessary for their survival.
Recent studies have revealed that babies are processing all the sounds they hear from the moment they are born.
They are laying the foundation for their future language skills in the first six months after birth.
Your baby will treasure your voice over all other voices. When a baby is born they can usually focus their eyes at a distance of eight to ten inches.
However, they can hear and smell their mothers from a much farther distance.
You are the sweetest most delicious smell and sound to your baby.
Katie Powers, R.N., is a board-certified lactation consultant and perinatal educator at Manatee Memorial Hospital’s Family BirthPlace. Her column appears every other week in Health. Contact her at email@example.com.