Learning starts in the womb: How to encourage your little one’s early learning

03 May 2016


Pregnancy is without a doubt, an amazing experience. Did you know that your baby’s learning starts in the womb?

One of the things you may talk about and read up on even during pregnancy is your developing child’s learning. There are so many ways to encourage learning in your little one right from the start.

Right from the early weeks of pregnancy, your developing baby is not only growing physically at an incredible rate, but has in fact, started many learning processes.
From brain development to complex senses such as touch and hearing, these reflect 360° Development in Cognitive, Motor, Emotional and Communications skills.

Cognitive skills: Memories start in the womb
What’s happening: Isn’t it quite incredible that your child’s brain starts to develop when you are just five weeks pregnant1? It continues to grow throughout your pregnancy, forming complex parts that take on specific roles such as interpreting sounds and storing memories.

In fact, researchers have found that the fetal brain is capable of laying down short-term memories and perhaps even some long-term memories too3. Studies have also discovered that the developing fetus is able to learn the particular speech sounds of his mother’s language.

What you can do: Read to your developing baby to help boost his literacy skills and cognitive development.

Physical skills: Your active child
What’s happening: Your developing baby is able to detect and respond to sounds outside the womb by waving his arms, kicking his legs and moving around. And you can watch all this activity when you go for your three-month scan.

As fascinating as it is to see and know that your developing baby is actively moving about in your womb, each kick and movement has a very important purpose. They all help strengthen his overall motor function.

What you can do: Musical stimulation allows you to interact with your developing baby through movement and helps establish future physical and social development. Medical experts say that developing babies even breathe in time to music they enjoy while in the womb!

So, remember to play plenty of tunes to your developing child and even sing to him while you are pregnant to either get him dancing, or to calm him down.

Language skills: Say “hello baby”!
What’s happening: Between weeks 6 to 14, the basic organs and structures needed for communication, such as the ears and mouth, are being formed. As your little one’s hearing develops, he is able to perceive sounds. This is why you will feel your developing baby startle and move around when exposed to a loud noise, even in-utero.

What you can do: Talk to your developing baby whenever possible to encourage early language formation. Even though the communication is just one way, rest assured that everything you say to him is still helping him to develop.

What’s more, talking to your child enables him to recognize your voice, and this creates a sense of comfort and familiarity.

Social skills: The wonder of touch
What’s happening: Touch is the first sense to develop. Early in your pregnancy, your little one will explore the uterine wall and umbilical cord. In fact, he will spend a lot of time touching his own face.

As early as the ninth week, your developing baby will respond to the sensation of touch on his lips or areas around the mouth, which then extends to the rest of his body. All this establishes the first connection between the both of you.

What you can do: Stroke or pat your belly to help stimulate your little one’s physical and social development.


The Asian Parent Editorial Team (2015). Learning starts in the womb: How to encourage your little one’s early learning. The Asian Parent Singapore [Online]. Available: http://sg.theasianparent.com/learning-starts-in-the-womb/ [July 5, 2015]

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