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What Babies Hear in the Womb

Little indentations form on the neck of the fetus at 9 weeks gestation. These will ultimately become the baby’s ears. The capability of detecting sound emerges around 16 weeks. What are the sounds your baby first hears? How does what they hear on the inside prepare them for life?

What Baby Hears

At 16 weeks the baby detects the sounds most near to her.  Sounds of mom’s tummy gurgling, her heartbeat, the swooshing sounds of breath going in and out of her lungs, and of course, mom’s voice. You’re already sharing experiences and bonding with your child. Dr. Sears says that even though mother’s emotions don’t cross the placenta, her hormones do. Imagine the connections being made with a deep, joyful belly laugh. Or a sorrow-filled sob. You and your baby share these experiences.  

By 24 weeks, your baby’s hearing will be more keen and sounds from the outside world will be part of his world. Your baby will even turn his head in response to familiar sound, like dad, a sibling, and even the bark of the family dog.

Dr. Sears says From the 28th week on, the cortex of the brain is developed enough for thinking. The baby has developed enough to respond to outside noise. She may kick in response to something that displeases her - like a loud noise or certain types of music.

What Baby Hears In Utero Prepares Him for Life

As mom goes about her day, her baby goes along and becomes part of her daily routine. Yes, your baby actually starts to become aware of your routine while he is still in utero. This means once the baby is born, he may not startle as much as you’d expect when the dog barks at the mail carrier, or when you zap the garbage disposal. Your baby will even know who you love. He may coo at daddy’s voice because on the inside that surge of love felt by mom when dad was nearby and talking to her, tells the baby, “Yeah, we love this guy.”


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Bonnie Jean Feldkamp is a writer and mother of two. If you liked this posting please follow her on Twitter @writerbonnie or like her on Facebook at

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