We would like you to take the time to get acquainted with our youngest Canadians and we hope you enjoy learning about this amazing world which is hidden from our sight. We are pleased to offer you a little peek through a window to human life in the womb. There are many people who really have never had the opportunity to see how we developed inside our mother’s wombs and there are also many who do not understand how wonderfully we developed and even believe that we were not human nor alive until we were born. The truth is we needed every stage of our development to be just what it was so that we could be who we are now.
These first nine months, we were meant to be nestled inside our mother’s wombs and nurtured by her body. We depended on her for the time and nourishment that would ensure our healthy growth as we steadily moved toward birth.
Each of us was a one celled human being, an embryo, a fetus, a newborn, an infant, toddler, child, adolescent, adult and will become elderly and finally die. Every human being has had these same stages of development and degress of dependency which are natural and universally experienced.
There is no question about when human life begins.
In the widely used medical textbook, The Developing Human, Clinically Oriented Embryology, 6th Edition, Moore, Persaud, Saunders, 1998, states on page 2 that
“The intricate processes by which a baby develops from a single cell are miraculous …. This cell [the zygote] results from the union of an oocyte [egg] and sperm. A zygote is the beginning of a new human being ….” On page 18 this theme is repeated: “Human development begins at fertilization ….”
Do Babies in the Womb Cry?
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Janet L. Hopson, Psychology Today 1998
- “Birth may be a grand occasion, says the Johns Hopkins University psychologist, but “it is a trivial event in development. Nothing neurologically interesting happens…”
- By nine weeks, a developing fetus can hiccup and react to loud noises. By the end of the second trimester it can hear.
- Just as adults do, the fetus experiences the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep of dreams.
- The fetus savors its mother’s meals, first picking up the food tastes of a culture in the womb.
- Among other mental feats, the fetus can distinguish between the voice of Mom and that of a stranger, and respond to a familiar story read to it.
- Even a premature baby is aware, feels, responds, and adapts to its environment.
- Just because the fetus is responsive to certain stimuli doesn’t mean that it should be the target of efforts to enhance development. Sensory stimulation of the fetus can in fact lead to bizarre patterns of adaptation later on…
Why people grow up liking hot chilies or spicy curries may also have something to do with the fetal environment. By 13 to 15 weeks a fetus’ taste buds already look like a mature adult’s, and doctors know that the amniotic fluid that surrounds it can smell strongly of curry, cumin, garlic, onion and other essences from a mother’s diet. Whether fetuses can taste these flavors isn’t yet known, but scientists have found that a 33-week-old preemie will suck harder on a sweetened nipple than on a plain rubber one…
Whether or not a fetus can taste, there’s little question that it can hear. A very premature baby entering the world at 24 or 25 weeks responds to the sounds around it, observes Als, so its auditory apparatus must already have been functioning in the womb. Many pregnant women report a fetal jerk or sudden kick just after a door slams or a car backfires.
Even without such intrusions, the womb is not a silent place. Researchers who have inserted a hydrophone into the uterus of a pregnant woman have picked up a noise level “akin to the background noise in an apartment,” according to DiPietro. Sounds include the whooshing of blood in the mother’s vessels, the gurgling and rumbling of her stomach and intestines, as well as the tones of her voice filtered through tissues, bones, and fluid, and the voices of other people coming through the amniotic wall. Fifer has found that fetal heart rate slows when the mother is speaking, suggesting that the fetus not only hears and recognizes the sound, but is calmed by it…
Vision is the last sense to develop. A very premature infant can see light and shape; researchers presume that a fetus has the same ability. Just as the womb isn’t completely quiet, it isn’t utterly dark, either. Says Filer: “There may be just enough visual stimulation filtered through the mother’s tissues that a fetus can respond when the mother is in bright light,” such as when she is sunbathing.
Japanese scientists have even reported a distinct fetal reaction to flashes of light shined on the mother’s belly. However, other researchers warn that exposing fetuses (or premature infants) to bright light before they are ready can be dangerous. In fact, Harvard’s Als believes that retinal damage in premature infants, which has long been ascribed to high concentrations of oxygen, may actually be due to overexposure to light at the wrong time in development.
A six-month fetus, born about 14 weeks too early, has a brain that is neither prepared for nor expecting signals from the eyes to be transmitted into the brain’s visual cortex, and from there into the executive-branch frontal lobes, where information is integrated. When the fetus is forced to see too much too soon, says Als, the accelerated stimulation may lead to aberrations of brain development…
It’s no secret that babies are born with distinct differences and patterns of activity that suggest individual temperament. Just when and how the behavioral traits originate in the womb is now the subject of intense scrutiny.
In the first formal study of fetal temperament in 1996, DiPietro and her colleagues recorded the heart rate and movements of 31 fetuses six times before birth and compared them to readings taken twice after birth. (They’ve since extended their study to include 100 more fetuses.) Their findings: fetuses that are very active in the womb tend to be more irritable infants. Those with irregular sleep/wake patterns in the womb sleep more poorly as young infants. And fetuses with high heart rates become unpredictable, inactive babies.
“Behavior doesn’t begin at birth,” declares DiPietro. “It begins before and develops in predictable ways.”
Babies Can be Taught in the Womb
Teaching Baby in the Womb: Introduction to Fetal Education – Edgar Arnold, December 2010
Many parents strive to begin teaching their child before he or she is even born. It has scientifically been proven that a child can learn some things in their mother’s womb. Obviously, the baby won’t come out singing the alphabet song or rattling off the periodic table of elements. However, there are some things a baby can learn in the womb. This article will look at a few ways of teaching your baby in the womb…
The BabyPlus curriculum is a series of 16 naturally derived sounds that resemble a mother’s heartbeat. The rhythm of the sounds increases incrementally as the pregnancy progresses. It introduces your child to a sequential learning process.