YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Mother's voice is no stranger, study of fetal responses finds

June 02, 2003|Dianne Partie Lange

A developing fetus begins to hear at about 30 weeks, and now researchers have learned that as the delivery date approaches, a fetus begins to distinguish its mother's voice from that of a stranger.

Sixty Chinese women were divided into two groups, and fetal heart rates were measured before, during and after a pre-recorded two-minute poem was played through a speaker held above the mother's abdomen.

The heart rate increased about five beats a minute in 21 of the 30 fetuses who heard recordings of their mothers' voices. Heart rates slowed about four beats a minute in 21 of the 30 fetuses who heard a recording of a stranger's voice.

"There's some sort of representation that the fetus is matching with the sound," says lead author Barbara S. Kisilevsky, a professor of nursing and obstetrics and gynecology at Queen's University in Kingston, Canada.

This study was published in the May issue of Psychological Science.


Dianne Partie Lange

Los Angeles Times Articles