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Can you teach your baby poetry before it's even born? Researchers think that your baby may actually be hanging on your every word, and that he or she can understand what you're saying in utero, even as early as the second trimester. (Better mind those four-letter words!)

The study, published in the journal Infant Behavior and Development, involved having the mom recite a particular nursery rhyme to their child a few times a day for six weeks. After the 34th week, the moms stopped reciting the poem, and instead, they played a recording of an unfamiliar woman reciting either the same poem or a different rhyme. Those who heard the familiar poem had their fetal heart rate slow, while those who heard the unfamiliar rhyme had their heart rate speed up.

The researchers believed the slowed heart rate indicated that the child had learned in utero."This research highlights just how sophisticated the third trimester fetus really is and suggests that a mother's voice is involved in the development of early learning and memory capabilities," Charlene Krueger, nursing researcher and associate professor in the University of Florida's College of Nursing, said in a university news release. "This could potentially affect how we approach the care and stimulation of the preterm infant."

Bottom line: Talk to your baby in utero! Whether you recite Shakespeare or simply share words of love, your baby's listening. Want to keep up with how your baby's developing? Sign up for our Daily Kick newsletter.

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