Helping Your Child Learn in the Womb

Helping Your Child Learn In The Womb

A womb or uterus is similar to a playground for your baby.

By 10 weeks, fetuses are already wriggling their tiny limbs in the womb, eagerly probing whatever they can get their hands on.

As early as 20 weeks, they react to what’s happening around them.

Around 23 weeks, they can hear your voice and other sounds, and may even respond to what they hear by moving around more.

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This is the time when you can start teaching your unborn child by reading aloud or listening to music regularly. Though there is no hardcore proven evidence that teaching your unborn baby can have long-lasting, useful effects, there is no harm in trying. Just don’t expect your baby to become a musical prodigy or a best-selling author merely on account of these activities!

 

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Listening to music regularly, though, can be soothing and can also help you unwind. If you are working at your job through most of your pregnancy, music can be a great stress reliever. A colleague of mine kept working right up to her eighth month and I can only imagine how stressful it must have been. Yet to supplement the family income especially in times of inflation, there was no choice except to keep working. Thankfully, she chose to unwind every evening with some great music. After birth, babies may also recall and respond to particular pieces of music that they heard earlier while in the womb, by becoming more wriggly and alert.

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Reading out loud from books or talking in your native tongue to your unborn baby in the womb can help familiarize your voice to the baby long before he/she is born. The foods and flavors you consume while you are pregnant also affect the flavor of your amniotic fluid, and studies seem to suggest that your baby may be able to recall the different tastes experienced while being in the womb. Babies may even show a preference for these familiar-tasting foods when they are being fed solids.

Indian Hindu mythology has several tales associated with GarbhSanskar or the process of educating the unborn baby. The epic Mahabharata for instance includes a passage about Abhimanyu, Arjuna’s son, who learns a unique war tactic while being in the womb of his mother, Subhadra.

As per the legend, Lord Krishna would often take his pregnant sister Subhadra (who was married to Arjuna) out on excursions. To humor her, Krishna would narrate various anecdotes. On one such excursion, Krishna was narrating his experience with the technique of Chakravyuha and detailed the step-by-step procedure to penetrate the various circles. Chakravyuha, a military formation used as an effective form of defence, involved arranging the units of the army in the form of a circular grid and a challenge would be thrown to the enemy to break the intricate grid. Subhadra, perhaps tired or out of boredom, fell asleep during this narration. Her unborn child in the womb (who would later grow up to be Abhimanyu), however, keenly listened to Lord Krishna’s narration.

After a while, Krishna realized that Subhadra was no longer attentive or even awake and halted his narration. At that point, he had explained up to the seventh step of the Chakravyuha. Thus, Abhimanyu could never learn the technique of breaking all the circles in the Chakravyuha, but whatever he did hear being in the womb was retained in his memory for years to come. And years later, when the Kauravas set up a Chakravyuha and challenged the Pandavas to come forward and break it, it was only he who could come forward as the others who knew the skill were unavailable.

Notwithstanding his incomplete knowledge of the technique, he still attempted to break the grid, and did succeed up to seven circles, after which he was stuck and was eventually overpowered by the enemies.

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This legend is narrated even today with great reverence and is used to emphasize the importance of Garbhasanskar. In many families, Garbhasanskar is still practiced and implemented. Prenatal yoga and meditation are some of the elements advocated in Garbhasanksar. Manashakti is a neo natal project based on Garbhasanskar techniques and is located in Lonavala near Mumbai. You can find more about them here.

Encouraging your unborn baby to learn in the womb is also practiced and supported in several countries abroad. In Korea, for instance, Tae-gyo a traditional prenatal education, that goes back as far as 1392, is recommended for pregnant women. Besides the usual suggestions of listening to music, reading aloud and talking to the fetus, Tae-gyo also advocates restricting behavior, thoughts, and actions of pregnant women in order to create a suitable environment for the yet-to-be-born child. This includes maintaining a peaceful and positive attitude, a happy state of mind, and eating foods of the finest quality.

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