Skip to content

Do Babies Sleep in the Womb? A Deeper Look

A common question many expecting parents ask is, “Do babies sleep in the womb?” It’s fascinating to consider what our little ones are doing before they make their grand entrance into the world. Here’s what we know about fetal sleep patterns.

Understanding Fetal Sleep Patterns

Just like newborns, babies in the womb sleep a lot, even though it might not always feel that way when they’re kicking or squirming. The sleep patterns of unborn babies are a bit different from those of babies after birth, but they share some similarities.

Stages of Fetal Sleep

Around the 28th week of pregnancy, fetuses usually start to exhibit periods of active and quiet sleep. However, unlike adults who go through different stages of sleep, babies in the womb experience only two stages – active sleep (equivalent to REM sleep when most dreaming happens) and quiet sleep (similar to non-REM sleep).

Sleep-Wake Cycles

As the fetus matures, these cycles become more regular. Near the end of pregnancy, fetuses spend about 90% of their time sleeping. They don’t follow a day-night sleep pattern in the womb, and their sleep-wake cycles are affected by their mother’s activities and schedule.

Can You Influence Your Baby’s Sleep in the Womb?

While there’s no surefire way to control your baby’s sleep in the womb, there are a few things you can do to possibly influence their schedule:

  • Movement: Some studies suggest that babies in the womb respond to their mother’s movements, becoming more active when the mother is at rest and more likely to sleep when the mother is active.
  • Sound and Light: Babies in the womb can respond to changes in light and sound, so you may be able to influence their sleep by maintaining a quiet, dark environment when you want them to sleep.

Understanding Fetal Sleep-Wake Cycles

Do Babies Sleep in the Womb When Mothers Sleep?

There is no direct correlation between a mother’s sleep schedule and her baby’s. However, many women report that their baby seems more active when they’re settling down to sleep, and quieter when they’re active during the day.

Can a Baby Sleep in the Womb While the Mother is Awake?

Absolutely! Babies in the womb do not follow the same sleep patterns as their mothers. They have their own sleep and wake cycles independent of their mother’s schedule.

Do Babies Move During Sleep in the Womb?

Babies tend to be less active during their quiet sleep stage. However, during their active sleep stage, which is similar to REM sleep, you might still feel some movements as they dream and twitch.

Wakefulness and Activity in the Womb

Do Babies Wake Up in the Womb?

Yes, babies in the womb have periods of wakefulness, during which they can move and practice breathing. These periods become more frequent as the baby matures.

What Activities Do Babies Do All Day in the Womb?

Apart from sleeping, babies in the womb are busy growing and developing. They practice breathing, suck their thumbs, make faces, explore their environment, and even startle in response to loud noises.

What Can Wake a Baby Up in the Womb?

Loud noises, changes in the mother’s activity level, and sometimes even the foods the mother eats can stir a baby in the womb.

Baby’s Position and Duration of Sleep in the Womb

What Position Do Babies Sleep In the Womb?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question as babies move quite a lot in the womb. However, as they get larger, they may settle into a consistent position, often head-down in preparation for birth.

How Long Do Babies Sleep in the Womb?

On average, unborn babies sleep for about 14 to 16 hours in a 24-hour period, often broken up into shorter periods rather than one long stretch.

Additional Interesting Facts

Do Babies Enjoy Showers in the Womb?

Babies can’t technically enjoy a shower as we do, but they might respond to the sound of the water or the change in the mother’s body temperature.

Can Babies Cry in the Womb?

While it’s believed babies can experience distress in the womb, they can’t cry as they lack the air and space necessary to make crying sounds. However, they may show physical reactions that resemble crying.

How Do Babies Eat in the Womb?

Babies don’t eat in the womb like they do after birth. Instead, they receive nutrients and oxygen from their mother’s bloodstream via the placenta and umbilical cord.

How Can Assist

From the womb to the cradle, your baby’s sleep is a complex yet critical aspect of their development. is a dedicated platform that offers guidance to parents navigating the often confusing world of baby sleep.’s team of experts provides useful tips and advice, such as understanding your baby’s sleep patterns in the womb and how to promote good sleep habits after birth. With the help of, you can ensure your baby’s sleep health is well-cared for, fostering their growth and overall well-being.


Understanding that babies do sleep in the womb helps you connect with your little one even before birth. And remember, just like adults, each baby is unique, with their own sleep patterns and habits. By turning to resources like, you can embrace these variations and provide the best sleep environment for your baby, both in the womb and beyond.