CircleBumpCheckedFilledMedicalBookmarkBookmarkTickBookmarkAddCheckBoxCheckBoxFilled

Should I Talk to Baby in Utero?

Learn when baby starts hearing sounds in utero—and what benefits talking to baby may have in the longerm.
save article
profile picture of Michael P. Nageotte, MD
Updated April 24, 2017
Hero Image
Image: Elizabeth Messina

By about the middle of pregnancy, baby can probably hear you. There’s no way for us to know for sure what he hears or doesn’t hear—after all, he’s not going to come out with a written report, and none of us remember being in utero—but scientific research suggests that babies respond to the sounds around them from about mid-pregnancy onward.

“There’s no question that the startle response can be observed in a fetus as early as about four or five months,” says Michael P. Nageotte, MD, medical director of the MemorialCare Center for Women at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach. “A loud noise can cause the baby to suddenly move, and that response becomes much more consistent as the pregnancy progresses.”

Some scientists say that babies in the womb respond to music and voices as well. Many a mom has felt baby move in response to music, and some moms, dads and scientists believe that babies can be comforted by hearing the same songs, voices and stories after birth that they first heard in utero. So sure, why not try talking to baby?

Thing is, you might feel a little silly at first. If chatting up your own belly feels unnatural, try reading a children’s book. (Or the newspaper. Baby won’t know the difference.) Or sing your favorite song. Just don’t expect miracles. Despite some well-published hype years ago, there’s no good evidence to suggest that listening to music (or anything else) in utero will make your child smarter.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

save article
ADVERTISEMENT

Next on Your Reading List

pregnant woman with milk stain on shirt
When Does Milk Start Leaking During Pregnancy?
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
pregnant woman eating a salad in kitchen at home
Why You Might Experience Loss of Appetite in Early Pregnancy (and Beyond)
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
pregnant woman sitting on couch with feet up
How to Relieve Swollen Feet During Pregnancy
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
ADVERTISEMENT
closeup of hands on pregnant belly
How to Relieve Swollen Hands During Pregnancy
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
pregnant woman holding a hot cup of tea
How to Relieve a Sore Throat in Pregnancy
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
toilet paper holder on red background
Why You Might Have Blood in Your Stool While Pregnant
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
pregnant woman holding ultrasound photo over belly
How Much Does the Uterus Grow in Pregnancy?
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
ADVERTISEMENT
pregnant woman sitting on couch with blanket
Why You Might Be Feeling Cold in Pregnancy
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
smiling pregnant woman feeling belly while sitting on couch at home
7 Ways to Get Baby to Move in Utero
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
pregnant woman drinking a glass of water
Why You Might Have a Dry Mouth in Pregnancy
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
ADVERTISEMENT
pregnant woman with round ligament pain
What Round Ligament Pain Feels Like—and How to Find Relief
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
pregnant woman with hip pain sleeping with pregnancy pillow
What to Do About Hip Pain During Pregnancy
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
tired pregnant woman napping on the couch
Pregnancy Fatigue: Why You're Exhausted—and What to Do About It
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
ADVERTISEMENT
close up of pregnant woman with hands on lower back
How to Relieve Back Pain in Pregnancy
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
pregnant woman wearing a bikini on the beach
What’s the Deal With So-Called ‘Pregnancy Glow?’
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
pensive pregnant woman looking down by sunny window
How to Treat (and Prevent) a Yeast Infection During Pregnancy
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
close up of pregnant belly, side view
How Your Vaginal Discharge Can Change During Pregnancy
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
ADVERTISEMENT
doctor checking woman's eyes with flashlight
Why You Might Experience Some Blurry Vision in Pregnancy
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
pregnant woman resting in bed
What Causes Restless Leg Syndrome in Pregnancy?
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
pregnant woman looking down and holding belly at home
When Do You Start Showing in Pregnancy?
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
ADVERTISEMENT
Article removed.
Article removed.
Name added. View Your List