preface

“ Could the human unborn learn and remember, as a newborn, what was learned in utero? ”

doctoral research question, by Dr. Brian Satt

  • I stand in awe of the pregnant woman. I am fascinated by the concept of fetal awareness. I really couldn’t say this before I started my research in the field of intrauterine learning, and I must admit that my appreciation for the complexities of the pregnancy process increased tenfold since my wife became pregnant. The final stages of preparation for this book coincide with the last month of preparing to bring our first child into the world.
  • People who inquire about my interest in issues related to pregnancy are always astounded to learn that I have no other children. How then did my intrigue with the topic develop? I stand in awe of the pregnant woman. I am fascinated by the concept of fetal awareness. I really couldn’t say this before I started my research in the field of intrauterine learning, and I must admit that my appreciation for the complexities of the pregnancy process increased tenfold since my wife became pregnant. The final stages of preparation for this book coincide with the last month of preparing to bring our first child into the world.
  • Through one of my graduate school professors, I learned about an obstetrician/gynecologist, Dr. Ron Pion, who was working with groups of pregnant couples concerned with birth and parenthood. I made an appointment to meet with him and during the course of our discussion about his work he asked if I had ever thought about intrauterine learning. “What kind of learning did he say? Intrauterine?” What an awesome concept! “You mean learning in the uterus, by the unborn baby?” He smiled at my expressed astonishment and enthusiastically shared his ideas with me. His hypothesis was that the unborn baby was definitely learning something valuable before birth.
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LEARN MORE ON CULTURAL INTRAUTERINE LEARNING WHICH HAS BEEN AROUND FOR CENTURIES

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Following several meetings with Dr. Pion, I was firmly set on the path toward my doctoral research question — “Could the human unborn learn and remember, as a newborn, what was learned in utero?” I began to scour the literature in search of all published information on this subject and was amazed to learn that almost every culture with a recorded history has entertained the idea of intrauterine learning.
The ancient Chinese, for example, were concerned with stress and tranquility in an expectant mother’s life and the effects of maternal emotional condition on the fetus. Consequently, they created special tranquility centers . . . retreats located along riverbanks where pregnant women could relax and stroll, contemplating the peacefulness of the river, passing their serenity on to their unborn.

flowerIn similar fashion, ancient Hindus believed that intrauterine learning occurred through “thought sharing”, whereby the expectant mother’s thoughts could be passed on to her unborn baby. To enhance the concept, they built special “thought” rooms and designated exclusive intrauterine teachers for the nobility and the wealthy. These teachers would impart complicated thoughts to the expectant mother in ways that she could understand. It was believed these thoughts would then be known by the unborn. I discovered a wealth of anecdotal stories:

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As conductor of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Boris Brott, immediately knew the composition of a musical piece he had never heard before, discovering later that it was a piece practiced and played by his pregnant mother, a cellist, yet never played again after his birth;

birdsAs conductor of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Boris Brott, immediately knew the composition of a musical piece he had never heard before, discovering later that it was a piece practiced and played by his pregnant mother, a cellist, yet never played again after his birth; Song writer Carley Simon and her sisters, all entertainers, were exposed to music and dance during their lives in the womb; A newborn consistently calmed and slept upon hearing “Born to Run”, which had been played incessantly during his mother’s pregnancy; The highly publicized Susedik family, with four young girls, all of whom test in the genius IQ range which the parents attribute, in great part, to their intrauterine learning experiences.

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  • Song writer Carley Simon and her sisters, all entertainers, were exposed to music and dance during their lives in the womb;
  • A newborn consistently calmed and slept upon hearing “Born to Run”, which had been played incessantly during his mother’s pregnancy;
  • The highly publicized Susedik family, with four young girls, all of whom test in the genius IQ range which the parents attribute, in great part, to their intrauterine learning experiences.
  • While interesting, these are merely stories with no scientific validation. As with all such tales, it is impossible to separate the influence of prenatal and postnatal experiences.
  • I set out to determine, scientifically, if unborn babies could actually learn a lullaby sung by their mothers.
  • Before I was ready to ask pregnant women to sing to their unborn babies, over a year was consumed with preliminary investigation, equipment development and pilot research with Dr. Jeff Phelan at County-University of Southern California Women’s Hospital. After the birth of one of these babies, testing was conducted within the first week, (a more in-depth description of this research appears in “Research History”). When the testing was completed, it was evident that these babies had learned the music before birth, recognized the music after birth, and preferred to hear it over another piece of music.
  • Having been a skeptic, I now had a strong belief that unborn babies heard sounds produced outside the womb and were capable of learning.
  • With this knowledge, my curiosity was really piqued, so I proposed to Dr. Phelan that we attempt to actually record, from within the womb, what sounds babies were hearing. The development of a completely safe recording system was difficult and time consuming.
  • Over a year passed before we were ready to attempt our first recording.
  • During labor, after the expectant mother’s amniotic sack had ruptured, an one quarter inch condenser microphone was inserted vaginally into the uterus. With our recorders and earphones in place, we were amazed at the clarity with which we could hear almost everything going on in the room. . . and even sounds out in the hallway were easily detectable. Based on what we heard, we could fully appreciate how and why unborn babies learned and recognized sounds after they were born. The mystery was slowly unraveling.
  • If you haven’t already listened to Inside the Womb, here are the remarkable sounds from the world of the womb:
  • Inside the Womb Audio.
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Womb Songs