Babies Begin Learning In The Womb
In a recent talk at TED, Annie Murphy Paul, the Time Magazine columnist and author of Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives, discussed the evidence behind a growing scientific consensus that unborn babies learn a great deal while still in the womb.
Supporters of “a woman’s right to choose” may not welcome what Murphy Paul has to say, but she makes a convincing case that sounds, emotions, and chemicals from the mother’s world all play a role in teaching unborn children what to expect after birth. Babies may even enter life psychologically prepared for what they will experience.
As Murphy Paul puts, it, “The fetus, we now know, is not an inert blob, but an active and dynamic creature, responding and adapting as it readies itself for life in the particular world it will soon enter.”
This news will come as no surprise to many mothers, who for untold centuries have noticed their baby’s response to certain stimuli, such as their father’s voice, or a particular piece of music. But such anecdotal evidence is now being proven by tests conducted around the world which seem to indicate the unborn brain is very busy indeed.
One example: An article at the Imperial College, London website mentions one such study which was published in the British journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It reported “. . . babies’ brains are more fully formed than we thought. More generally, we sometimes expect to be able to explain the activity we can see on brain scans terms of someone thinking or doing some task. However, most of the brain is probably engaged in activities of which we are completely unaware, and it is this complex background activity that we are detecting.”
In another study conducted at UC Irvine, results indicate the children of mothers who experienced psychological trauma during their pregnancies are prone to early aging.
It seems science is building a compelling case that children function intellectually as a human beings long before their birth. But this, of course, is not merely old news to pregnant mothers. It’s also something anyone can learn from reading the Bible:
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:13-14)