The purpose of this longitudinal observational survey was to compare a questionnaire on fetal auditive exposure, administered to 58 pregnant women, to the Mac Arthur questionnaire recording the communicative and linguistic development of their children when ten- and eighteen-months-old. By 'fetal auditive exposure' we mean the natural exposure to the acoustic stimuli that the fetuses experience through their mother's living environment. Fifty-eight women in their sixth to ninth month of pregnancy were given a questionnaire evaluating the characteristics of the acoustic aspects of the mother's daily life environment and the quality and quantity of the mother's linguistic communication. Subsequently, the children were tested with the Italian version of the Mac Arthur questionnaire. Lastly, the two questionnaires were compared in order to examine possible associations between the child communicative and linguistic development and the fetal auditive exposure. In our sample we found that intentional linguistic communication from mother to the fetus is a relevant factor that can be associated to the communicative development of the children. The frequency of intentional daily mother-fetus linguistic communication shows an association with the linguistic understanding and the communicative actions and gestures of 18-month children.
KEY WORDS: prenatal development, auditive exposure, linguistic development, mother-fetus communication.
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JOURNAL OF PRENATAL AND PERINATAL PSYCHOLOGY AND HEALTH publishes research and clinical articles from the cutting edge of the science of prenatal and perinatal psychology and health. The journal, published quarterly since 1986, is dedicated to the in-depth exploration human reproduction and pregnancy and the mental and emotional development of the unborn and newborn child.