I've always advocated that fathers should talk to their partner's pregnant belly. I practiced this extensively with our first child, carrying on daily monologues next to my wife's baby bump. Moments after my son was born I spoke to him and he instantly quieted and looked up at me. The reaction was significant enough that the nurses and doctor commented on it and asked if I had been talking to him all along. That brief moment made the months of mindless belly banter worthwhile.
Aside from my experience, there is new evidence that 30-week-old fetuses are able to "store information and retrieve it four weeks later." The study tested fetal reaction to acoustic stimulation and noted differences between groups which had and had not previously experienced the stimulation, signifying their memory of the stimulus.
In my non-scientific summation and application of this information, a fetus can learn the sound of its father's voice. It's a great way for both the father and the fetus to bond and, by experience, has a calming effect on a new born baby. Studies have shown that reactive listening can occur as early as 16 weeks gestational age, so talk soon and talk often.
Labels: father's voice