Pregnancy Developing senses in the womb

What’s going on for baby?

Pregnancy can be an exciting time for the whānau especially when they realise how their baby’s senses are already developing the womb.

Touch is the first of the senses to begin to work in the unborn baby. They will touch the womb’s walls, the umbilical cord, and their own face and body and some babies will suck their thumb.

Their eyes can open and close and they will turn away from bright light coming through the walls of the womb.

In the third trimester, baby can hear sounds in the outside world. They will learn to recognise the voices of people close by, especially māmā and the sounds of the language their whānau speaks.  A baby will even ‘startle’ if there’s a loud, sudden noise.

At around 20 weeks’ gestation, baby begins to swallow and will taste the amniotic fluid they’re floating in. They can even taste the foods their māmā eats.  A baby will also get familiar with the daily routines of the whānau — especially mum’s and will notice when she’s active and when she’s resting.

How can parents and whānau help?

  • Be aware that baby notices, and is sensitive to, the outside world.
  • Touch or massage mum’s puku when she feels baby moving to which baby may respond by kicking or changing position.
  • Protect baby from harm , avoid:
    • bright lights
    • sudden loud noises
    • loud music.
  • Talk, sing and read to their baby.
  • Eat a variety of foods so baby is introduced to different tastes.

Email this resource Email


Recommended reading for this topic

Other related external links