How early can learning start?
Dr. Robert Aepli says his patients don't show a lot of interest in their baby's learning while in the womb, but that doesn't mean it isn't possible.
"I think it's a great concept. It's fun to think about. Obviously we have no concrete evidence that that occurs, but I think it's something certainly can be looked into and it may occur," he says.
Products like "Baby Plus" cater to pre-natal learning. Baby Plus is not-music. It's a belt that wraps around your belly and plays a series of sounds.
"Baby Plus encourages comparing and contrasting between that maternal heartbeat that's always there and something very similar and that encouragement of that process of comparing and contrasting it's called 'discrimination' that strengthens learning for life at a time when the impact is the strongest," says Lisa Jarrett, Baby Plus president.
Jarrett used "Baby Plus" while pregnant with four of her seven children, and says she noticed a difference.
"I believe that the early environment strengthens certain processes for my kids. The way they develop, their pediatric milestones, their early-learning and then their academic school success and readiness," she says.
"Baby Plus" also claims to help baby's ability to self-soothe, more readily nurse, and be more relaxed at birth. Jarrett says their goal is to make pre-natal learning a part of every pregnancy.
"Everyone understands physical development and early proper nutrition and how it helps a child long term develop properly. But I think we're in an area some people can't and don't understand as well, but the the truth is a child's brain development begins during those pre-natal months too," Jarrett says.
The inventor of "Baby Plus" tested its effectiveness in clinical trials and soon the company will begin trials with the help of Indiana University. Dr. Aepli says it's possible the belt can have an affect.
"We know that babies hear when they're inside the uterus so there may be some evidence or some possibility that they can learn when they're in the womb," says Dr. Aepli.