Release Date: 11/03/2014
Research has shown the importance of reading, talking and singing in infant and toddler language development, and a new study examines the role of gender in these parent-child conversations.
The study, led by director of Women & Infants' Neonatal Follow-Up Clinic, Betty R. Vohr, MD, FAAP, "Gender Differences in Adult-Infant Communication in the First Months of Life," published in the December 2014 Pediatrics (published online November 3), analyzed audio recordings taken at three points in time after the birth of 33 late preterm and term infants. Researchers found infant from birth through age seven months were exposed to significantly more speech from mothers compared to fathers, and that infants preferentially responded to mothers' compared to fathers' speech. They also found parents may respond preferentially to children based on gender; mothers responded more frequently to girls rather than boys at birth and at 44 weeks postmenstrual age, and there were trends for fathers to respond preferentially to sons at 44 weeks. Overall language exposure increased over time for all infants as they matured.
Study authors conclude both mothers and fathers should be informed about the important benefits of parent talk for their child's language development.
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About Women & Infants Hospital
Women & Infants and Brown offer fellowship programs in gynecologic oncology, maternal-fetal medicine, urogynecology and reconstructive pelvic surgery, neonatal-perinatal medicine, pediatric and perinatal pathology, gynecologic pathology and cytopathology, and reproductive endocrinology and infertility. It is home to the nation’s first mother-baby perinatal psychiatric partial hospital, as well as the nation’s only fellowship program in obstetric medicine.
Women & Infants has been designated as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiography; a Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology; a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence by the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and a Neonatal Resource Services Center of Excellence. It is one of the largest and most prestigious research facilities in high risk and normal obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics in the nation, and is a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Gynecologic Oncology Group and the Pelvic Floor Disorders Network.