In Spain, scientists have discovered that unborn babies can respond to sounds in utero much earlier than initially believed. In fact, the Daily Mail reports that a new study shows that babies 16-weeks fetal age and older respond to music by moving their tongue and mouth.
The study was published in “Ultrasound”, the journal of the British Medical Ultrasound Society (BMUS), and found that they responded to music transmitted intravaginally by opening their mouths “as if they were trying to speak or sing.” The researchers wrote: “This report explains that, beginning in week 16 of pregnancy, a response exists to music delivered intravaginally, expressed through specific movements of the mouth and tongue.”
Additionally, the researchers said the study indicated that unborn children have the ability to learn inside their mother’s womb. They explained: “Our study suggests that music induces a response that activates brain circuits, stimulating language and communication. It proves that learning begins in the womb.”
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The study was conducted on women between the14th and 39th week of pregnancy, and found that 87% of unborn babies responded to music by moving their head and limbs, while 50% responded by widening their jaw and sticking out their tongue as far as possible.
The researchers said the following about their findings: “Fetal response begins at 16 weeks, with statistically significant variations throughout the pregnancy. The further on the mother is in the pregnancy, the more striking the facial movements. Response is different for each fetus, with different response levels each time the music is played.”
They added, “We are aware of and recognize the importance of talking to babies from the moment they are born to promote neurological stimulation. Now we have the amazing opportunity to do this much sooner, which is a huge advance.”
Although these findings are remarkable, this is not the first time scientists have said babies have the ability to learn before they are born. As LifeNews previously reported, in 2013, research revealed that they can hear sounds from the outside world—and can understand them well enough to retain memories of them after birth.
This was determined by a group of scientists who gave expectant women a recording to play several times a week during their last few months of pregnancy. The recording included a made-up word, which was repeated many times interspersed with music.
According to the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, by the time the babies were born, they had heard the word more than 25,000 times. And when they were tested after they were born, these infants’ brains recognized the word and its variations, while infants in a control group did not.
The video below shows an unborn baby responding to Johann Sebastian Bach’s Partita in A Minor by opening its mouth as if he or she was trying to sing.