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By Halli Rydholm

Are there benefits to reading out loud while pregnant?

All mothers-to-be dream of a happy, healthy baby, but some also secretly wish for the next Einstein or Steve Jobs. Can anything be done to help make your unborn child smarter? Is there any scientific evidence that reading to them in utero will do the trick?

Newest research suggests that babies can understand language during their last 10 week in the womb. The same research also suggests babies are able to differentiate their mother’s language from a foreign language at birth. This, of course, comes from them being able to hear as early as early as their 26th week of gestation. With all the talking going on, does reading benefit your child in any way?

There is no scientific evidence proving reading to your child in the womb will improve their intelligence, but there is evidence that doing it can help facilitate a healthy pregnancy. I’m sure if you are pregnant or have been pregnant you have heard: “Don’t stress. It’s not good for the baby.” That is very true, and there are many ways to relieve stress while pregnant such as yoga, a warm bubble bath and-yep, you guessed it-reading out loud. Reading out loud while pregnant can not only lower your stress level, which we all know is good for the baby, but it can also help you bond to your unborn child.

Research suggests that babies are able to remember certain sounds and tastes from the womb after birth. If, while pregnant, you constantly played a certain song, watched a certain TV show or even read a certain story out loud, chances are those same things will help comfort/calm your baby after birth. While reading out loud may not give you the next baby Einstein, it can certainly help you de-stress and bond with your unborn child.

If you don’t feel comfortable reading out loud to your bump, there is always the option to simply just read to yourself. For many people, reading is a great way to unwind after a hard day. Put those swollen feet up and fall into a good book. If you choose to read out loud to that bun in the oven or you simply want to get lost in a world of fiction, either one will have fantastic benefits for both you and your baby.

Since you can’t have a drink, what better way to relax then to read? Who knows, maybe that love for reading will be passed on to your child. So, mothers-to-be, read on, and relish in the beautiful journey that is pregnancy.

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