Mother's Voice and the Foetus' Listening Ability
The journey toward language and communication starts in the womb, where the foetus is continually bathed in the sounds of its mother’s voice. The high frequencies in her voice provides important stimulation to the developing brain and nervous system of the foetus. At 16 weeks gestation, the middle and inner ears are completely formed and at 17 weeks, the same size as that of an adult. By this time the neurological organization is well underway. Around 20 weeks, the cochlear nerve is myelinated and fully functional. Active listening starts at 24 weeks and mature synapses are found between 24 and 28 weeks.
The mother’s voice fills the baby with a sense of well-being.
Babies are ‘one’ with their mother’s feelings and emotions. The baby feels the muscular tension of the mother’s body and hears the changes in her voice when stressed or emotional and upset. When the mother is stressed, her stress hormones cross the placenta and influence the baby, resulting in a stressed baby even before birth! The stress hormones also cross into the baby’s brain and delays neurological development, resulting in possible learning difficulties later in life.
Chronically High Prenatal
Stress and Anxiety
May Possibly Result in Childhood Difficulties:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)
- Childhood anxiety and depression
- Autism or a developmental problem on the Autistic Spectrum
- Motor developmental delay or poor motor skill coordination
- Premature delivery or low birth weight
- Learning disabilities
- Auditory processing disorder
- Sensory integration related to vestibular issues
- Speech and language delay
The Tomatis® Method Can Help in Pregnancy
For Dr Tomatis, the mother’s voice and foetus’ early listening played a significant role in inviting the foetus to communicate for early language development and a desire to learn. The perception of the mother’s voice is the very first bond of communication with the world. The quality of this bond will deeply influence the child's attitude toward life.
A relaxed mum or mum-to-be during pregnancy will naturally have a more relaxed baby. Understanding the special mother-baby bond, the Tomatis® Method can be used from 18 weeks of pregnancy. The objective is to relax and reduce the mother’s anxiety, improve her energy levels and stimulate her emotional bond with the baby.
More than 1000 pregnant women took part in a research study in France at Vesoul and Foch Hospitals, outside Paris, where the impact of the Tomatis® Method was compared to a control group. In the Tomatis® group it demonstrated a maternal reduction in anxiety, greater awareness of the baby, improved bonding with baby, resulting in reduced labour time and delivering babies that were calmer and more content.
This demonstrates that the Tomatis® Method benefits mothers, the immediate family and it has a positive impact on the health and well-being of their new-borns. Tomatis® “babies” are quite calm and alert, open to the world around them, ready to interact and communicate even before they can talk.