Wombs and dreams

Wombs and dreams

Whether or not babies dream in the womb, their thoughts are definitely shaped by the mothers’ experiences and emotions, writes Dr Joshita Naik.

Ever wondered about babies having dreams in the womb? Does the mother's emotions affect the baby's thoughts and dreams? Can the baby listen to the mother's voice in the womb? There are a bundle of questions about the baby's activities in the womb that still seem to be a mystery...

A baby sleeps 95 percent of the time in the womb, but there is an ambiguity about whether or not a baby dreams. There is no direct evidence available about the
foetus’ dreams. On the contrary, a lot of studies on new-born babies have extended an analysis about babies' dreams in the womb.

It is noticed that a foetus experiences similar sleep patterns as that of a new-born baby. This shows a high probability for babies to have dreams in the womb.
Dreaming is a part of parallel processing where we integrate our experiences in the brain.

The brain of the foetus is developed as early as the fourth week of pregnancy, and there are probabilities for the foetus to dream about the life in the womb, the muffled noise of the mother's heart beats, voices and the muted light they see.

A baby’s thoughts and its dreams are known to be in sync with what the mother watches, reads, thinks and feels. It is for this reason that mothers are advised to stay in a positive environment. In fact, just-born babies are known to recognise their mother and her voice, as they familiarise with her right from the womb!

Another fascinating observation is that when the baby reaches thirty two weeks of gestation, the foetus starts REM (Rapid Eye Movements) while sleeping. REM occurs when we dream as the brain starts processing stored memory. This is the period when the foetus has active sleep, same as an adult experiences, when most dreams take place.

While we may not know for sure, as yet, whether or not babies dream in the womb, we do know that the babies’ thoughts in the womb are shaped by their mothers’ experiences and emotions. Therefore, it is essential that women prepare
themselves before conception to remain, as much as possible, in a positive frame of mind.

It is important for both, the mother and the father, to stay connected to the baby during the nine-month-long journey of pregnancy. Hence, it is advised that
parents regularly talk to the baby and keep a positive environment.

(The writer is a consultant  gynaecologist, Apollo Cradle)

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