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Babies 'in deep sleep' until birth


Active Member
Sep 10, 2004
Many parents talk to their unborn child but new research suggests there is little point - a baby in the womb cannot hear a thing.

A New Zealand research team has found that babies in utero are in a deep sleep until they are born.

While a foetus can react to sound and move away from painful stimuli like needles, it is unlikely to be able to consciously hear or feel.

The study contradicts the views of many paediatric experts, who say more research needs to be done.

Professor David Mellor, from Massey University in New Zealand, undertook the research that shows that foetuses cannot properly hear or feel until they are out of the womb.

"I think we need to distinguish between actually hearing, experiencing sound, being consciously aware of sound, and the impact of nerve impulses going along the nerves from the ears to the brain having an affect on the brain and its development and the pathways that are being laid down," Professor Mellor said.

"We would say that the foetus doesn't consciously hear sound impulses but that those sound impulses can affect the brain.

Professor Mellor says likewise, a foetus will react to pain impulses but not actually feel the sensation as pain.

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What do you guys think of this? Personally, I don't believe it. I'm still with the belief that babies can hear whilst in the womb. Think of all the research that shows that babies recognise their mother's voice right from birth, etc, etc.

What do you think?
I'm with you Snowy!

I know I use to lay down and read to my pregnant belly and the baby would always respond, giving little kicks or pokes. They didn't do that unless I was talking to them.

Also like you said, babies seem to recognise their mothers voices straight away and are comforted by that.