Babies listen to and remember words they hear in the womb
Parents-to-be who talk and sing to their unborn baby might be giving them a head start when it comes to developing their child's language skills.
Finnish scientists said babies still in their mothers' wombs develop a memory of frequently-heard words.
Minna Huotilainen said a baby is not a blank slate when it enters the world and has already learned how his or her family members speak before being born.
She believes the research shows how well a baby's brain adapts to sounds at a very early stage in its life.
Professor Huotilainen, of the University of Helsinki, said: 'It is a sign of very early language learning, or adaptation to the sounds they heard.'
The research demonstrates that babies remember the sounds they heard in the womb, despite the fact that when they heard them as foetuses, their brains were still
developing the connections that allow them to process any thoughts and external sensations, Medical Express reported.
There is already evidence to suggest that foetuses can learn and babies can recall songs or passes from books read to them before they were born.
In this study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers exposed Finnish unborn babies to one word - 'tatata' - that does not have a meaning but follows the rules of the Finnish language.