A miracle is growing inside you, and before you know it, you will be holding your new baby in your arms for the first time! As you prepare for baby's arrival, there are a number of things you will probably do naturally: rubbing your belly, singing to your baby and fixing the nursery to be just so.
Some parents take it one step further and read to their baby in the womb! Though developing babies don't have the ability to hear early on in the pregnancy, Medline Plus medical encyclopedia suggests that baby's ears are developing between weeks 19 to 21 of pregnancy. This doesn't mean your baby can decipher words, but rather the tone, rhythm and inflection of your voice can be easily detected after these weeks. (Think of this "hearing" as though you were hearing a television through the wall of the next room.)
Have you considered reading to your unborn baby? Support is rising up from moms everywhere, and even TV's popular celebrity doctor Dr. Oz has encouraged new parents-to-be to read to their babies in utero.
In an article co-written by Dr. Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen, the suggested benefits of reading to your unborn baby include fostering early brain development and establishing an auditory bond with your baby. Reading is thought to give your unborn baby a "head start," so to speak, by providing him/her with the foundation for language. Not only that, but hearing your voice (in the manner that you will be using it to communicate with your baby after birth) is thought to have a calming effect on your baby in the womb and gives your baby the opportunity to learn and recognize your voice distinctly as its mother's.
However beneficial to the fetus reading in the womb may be, your baby may not be the only one who benefits! Some mothers testify that reading to your unborn baby is beneficial to mommy-to-be as well. When you read a story to your baby bump, you may find you develop a stronger emotional bond that personifies your big belly. This helps you mentally prepare to be a new mommy, and you will be an old pro at reading stories like, "Guess How Much I Love You" by the time baby is born!
In addition to letting baby hear Mommy's voice, it is now commonplace for a father to take advantage of the opportunity to talk and read stories to his unborn baby. After all, why should Daddy miss out on all the fun? It may be a great way to develop cohesive family bonds and good "practice" for when baby actually arrives.
Of course, these are the suggested benefits of reading to your baby in the womb. Just as there are mothers who swoon at the idea, there are also mothers who would feel completely silly doing so! It is up to you to decide whether this is something you feel is appropriate and beneficial for your growing family.