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Although most of us do not remember our lives as infants (not to mention in the womb!), the process of memory begins in infancy, and perhaps even before we are born. Research indicates that memory may begin to develop in the third trimester of pregnancy. (Kase, 2000. p. 50)
Memory within the womb
In one study, women recited rhymes out loud between their 34th and 37th weeks of pregnancy. Scientific measurement of the fetus' heart rate showed a change in heart rate when unfamiliar rhymes were read as opposed to repeated rhymes. (Kase, 2000 .p.50)
Memory of the womb
Sounds and smells from the womb have been shown scientifically to be recognized by newborn infants.
Sound - In one study, women read a specific children's story aloud three times a day during the last six weeks of pregnancy. After the babies were born, they were presented with a rubber nipple to suck. This nipple was connected to two tape recorders. When the baby sucked in a particular rhythm, the tape of the baby's mother reading the story she had read aloud before the baby's birth. If the baby sucked in a different rhythm, the tape of the mother reading a different story was played. More than 80% of the infants changed their sucking pattern to produce the familiar story, suggesting that they remembered the sounds they had heard before they were born. (Yount, 1996, page 20-21)
Smell - In one study, researchers soaked a Q-Tip in the mother's amniotic fluid (from the uterus) and waved it in front of them. This had a calming effect on the infant. (Kase, 2000 .p.50)