[RFHF] What does a fetus really learn?

Katie Anderson katie.anderson at state.or.us
Tue Jan 10 09:59:06 PST 2012

Hi!  I just watched this excellent video<http://youtu.be/stngBN4hp14> (TED Talk) presented by a woman who has published a book on how pregnancy shapes babies lives called Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives. The video is about 16 minutes long, but is well-worth the time... especially to hear the two stories at the end about babies born after a food shortage during WWII and babies born to mother who suffered post traumatic stress syndrome from 9/11.

Here are the key things I took away from the video.  Most weren't new ideas to me, but the research behind them and explanations on impact to the baby as the grow into adults is much better and more insightful.

*         As we know, babies learn the sound of their mother's voice in the womb and it is an important factor in language development.  But, did you know:

1.       Babies slow their sucking when something interests them and speed up sucking when bored.

2.       Babies cries differ based on the tones of the mother's native language which they hear in the womb, and this is really the beginning of learning to speak one's native language.

*         Babies taste the food their mother eats during pregnancy and tend to prefer those foods the rest of their lives, but did you know:

1.       Fetuses are being taught what is safe to eat and good to eat.

2.       This is their first lesson about their native culture because so much of our culture is expressed in the types of foods, seasonings, and rituals around food.

*         The emotions a mother feels during pregnancy are shared with her fetus, they fetus incorporates these offerings into their bodies and treats them as information (biological postcards from the outside) to learn what type of world they will be born into. Will they be safe? What do they need to be prepared for to survive?
If the hyperlink doesn't work, try copying and pasting this URL into your browser: http://youtu.be/stngBN4hp14

Katie Anderson, Library Development Services
* Youth Services Consultant * Oregon Center for the Book Coordinator *
Oregon State Library, 250 Winter St. NE, Salem, OR 97301
katie.anderson at state.or.us<mailto:katie.anderson at state.or.us>, 503-378-2528

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