So, she’s having your baby. You look at that growing belly and you know that your child is in there…but sometimes it’s hard to wrap your head around that it’s real, and that there is anything you can do to influence that child while it’s still a “bun in the oven.” Surprisingly, there are several things you can do that will directly and indirectly influence your baby in utero.

Direct Influences

Babies in the womb, especially during the latter part of the second and the entire third trimester, are surprisingly aware of the outside world, and they respond to it. At 18 weeks along, your baby can hear and respond to external sounds. For instance, they know the sound of their mother’s voice—but it doesn’t have to be confined to her voice! Talk to your baby, in a soothing and calm voice, so he or she gets to know you, too. Once he or she is actually born, speak to him or her as soon as possible. Let him or her know you are there, and that he or she is safe and sound. If you have spent time speaking to mom’s belly, the baby will associate your voice with those sounds and respond to you.

You can also play classical music, which has been demonstrated by numerous studies to stimulate intellectual and emotional development. Music improves fine and gross motor development of babies, and it increases the child’s ability to make sound associations, a skill which is critical for language acquisition. Choose a musical compilation designed for babies, which take into account what ranges unborn infants can hear in. There are many such collections to choose from.

Indirect Influences

Happy moms produce healthier babies, it’s well known. Moms who are stressed have higher incidences of complications during their pregnancies, and stress from the mother can impede the baby’s growth and development in the womb.  So try to keep the expectant mom as calm and tranquil as possible. Make sure she gets enough rest and eats well, and pays attention to the doctor or midwife’s recommendations. You can also make yourself a positive example by modeling sober behavior, going with her to prenatal visits, supporting her sticking to a healthy diet, and keeping things as stress-free as possible around the house.

Another thing that will influence your baby’s growth is smoking. If you smoke, quit. If you can’t quit, never smoke around the baby’s mom. According to a report at, babies with parents who smoke are 2.5 times more likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome than those born to nonsmokers.

Another big thing you can do that will benefit mom, baby and you is to quit smoking. Everyone knows smoking is a horrible idea health-wise, and it has terrible consequences for expectant mothers and unborn children. So do yourself and everyone around you a favor and quit; if you can’t quit, go outside and never smoke around the pregnant mom or the kids. Babies with parents that smoke are more than twice as likely to die of SIDS, not to mention that they have tons more health problems, such as asthma.