Bonding with your unborn baby

Even before they are born, your baby is listening and getting to know you.

When they hear you speak, they settle and their heartbeat slows. This helps them to recognise you and to begin to learn about relationships and language.

And paying attention to the baby inside the bump helps you to learn about them and notice things about them, such as what they respond to, when they are more active or settled. 

Involving other loved ones in speaking, reading or singing to baby can also help them connect.

Watch this short video for some helpful tips and techniques on bonding with your unborn baby:

Further resources:
Download the NHS accredited baby buddy app for bite-sized guidance through pregnancy until your baby is 6 months old.

BBC Tiny Happy People has lots of useful resources including the science of singing to a bump and preparing your toddler to meet a new baby.

Further support:
Every mum or dad faces the approaching birth of a baby with a mixture of feelings – with excitement and hopes, as well as fears and worries, about what might lie ahead. The birth of a baby stirs up powerful emotions from a parent’s own early experiences.

Research tells us that more than 1 in 10 mums and around 1 in 10 dads will experience a mental health problem during pregnancy or in the first years. Many of these difficulties go unseen, undiagnosed, or untreated. It is important to seek help and support if you or your partner is struggling.

You can speak to your GP or Health Visitor.

You can also find some additional information, advice and further signposting from these organisations: 

AIMH – The Association for Infant Mental Health

Maternal Mental Health Alliance

The Parent Infant Foundation may have a team near you (39 UK locations)

Crisis Support:
If you or someone you care about is in crisis, or feeling suicidal and needs urgent help you can access support in the following ways:

Go to A&E at your local hospital

Phone emergency services on 999

Call Samaritans on 116 123 (free to call and will not appear on your phone bill), or email

Video Transcript:

You don’t need to wait until your baby is born to bond with them. Pregnancy is the perfect time to start getting to know them, and for them to start getting to know you. 

Visualise what they will be like. Will they have curly or straight hair, how will their laugh sound? 

At around 18 weeks your baby starts to hear sounds like your tummy rumbling.

At 26 weeks, they may start to recognise and be soothed by the sound of your voice.

This is a really good time for you and other significant people to start talking to your baby or even reading to them. Try telling about your day.

You can sing too! Music that mimics a heartbeat can be calming, which is actually most lullabies.

Babies respond to what they hear. Pay attention to their movement and their rhythms and respond back.

Talking, touching and being musical will help you and those around you to connect with your baby. And your baby will get to know you and the world outside of your tummy.

This video featured Tara Spence, CEO of Home-Start in Suffolk.

This content has been made available from the Home-Start UK website