|Diagram of a mother and 34-week-old baby in the womb via BabyCenter|
[This is part 35 of a multi-part series chronicling a pregnancy through the lens of “Baby Chris.” Click here for other parts.]
34 weeks after fertilization (36 weeks LMP), Baby Chris is 18 ¾ inches long and weighs 5 ¾ pounds—about the size of a head of romaine lettuce.
Baby Chris isn’t just growing; he or she is also learning. The Endowment for Human Development reports:
Studies suggest that towards the end of prenatal development, the fetus has been developing preferences and tastes based on prenatal experience. For instance, fetuses whose mothers consumed anise, the substance which gives licorice candy its flavor, showed a preference for anise after birth. Newborns without this fetal exposure disliked anise.
The fetus hears numerous sounds before birth, with the mother’s voice and heartbeat dominating other sounds. Studies show that after months of listening to the mother’s voice, the newborn prefers her voice to any other. The newborn also prefers female voices to male voices and familiar lullabies heard before birth to new lullabies after birth. Newborns can distinguish prose passages heard during the last 6 weeks of pregnancy from new passages, providing additional evidence of in utero memory formation and learning.
For more information about prenatal development, check out the free See Baby app!