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All expecting moms have talked to their babies, but what about the communicative power of touch? We now have evidence that babies in utero love to be touched, just like babies outside the womb. In a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers discovered that fetuses had the greatest response to touch instead of Mom's voice as had been previously thought.
How did they discover this exactly? Researchers brought in 23 healthy pregnant women who were in the second half of their pregnancy and had them sit in a dark room and try three different activities. In the first situation, they read either "Jack and the Beanstalk" or "The Three Little Bears" out aloud. In the second scenario, the women rubbed and caressed their bellies. And in the final activity, the moms-to-be laid down with their arms by their sides doing nothing. While all of this was going on, the researchers were observing the movements of the baby via sonogram. What they saw was that the fetuses showed the greatest arm, head and mouth movement when their moms were touching their abdomens—even greater than when they heard Mom's voice.
The authors of the study conclude that "although it is speculative to suggest, it might well be that the increases in arm movements in response to maternal touch are also directed responses towards the source of the stimulation."
So what are you waiting for? Start rubbing those bellies!