Music has a long tradition of being connected to all-things-wonderful, so the fact we link it to our children’s speedy and healthy development doesn’t really come as a surprise. In fact, it is not only our children’s development we’re talking about here.
With an increasing body of scientific research, we are now lead to believe that the benefits of prenatal music stimulation are more significant than we ever imagined. It turns out that “feeding” music to a developing fetus has numerous benefits on that same fetus, including baby’s brain development, bonding with the mother, and the baby’s auditory system development. But, how do we know when’s the right time to start playing music for our unborn baby, what’s too much, and which genre is the best?
We’ve put together a list of the most common Q&As that’s proven super informative for all moms to be:
The womb is a fairly quiet place that registers around 50 – 60dB. While a normal conversation registers somewhere between 60dB and 65dB, contributing to the baby feeling soothed, music can have the same effect when played at approximately the same levels.
Although the baby’s ears don’t become fully functional until the week 16, they do develop in the third week of gestation, with ultrasounds confirming that fetus is able to hear and respond to sounds at week 16.
Typically, the fetus should be able to register anything from their mother’s voice to music patterns, their native language (or some other language the mother is learning/speaking while pregnant), and sounds alike. Some research even explores the idea of fetus beginning to remember rhymes and word patterns starting with week 16. With that in mind, it makes complete sense that music has a significant impact on the child’s development.
Unfortunately, not all expecting mothers can keep their stress levels in check during the entire period of nine months. Life happens, and that includes having to deal with a plethora of situations you never thought you’d have to. Unpleasant situations may potentially lead to a range of negative emotions such as sadness, sorrow, concern and similar. In expecting mothers, such feelings don’t only affect them but the baby (fetus) as well.
Since music has a very calming effect, playing it to both your child and yourself can be very soothing and help you balance your emotions out. Quickly neutralizing stressful situations with music contributes to your baby’s healthy and happy development in the long run. You can play anything from lullabies to Beethoven – as long as the music is non-invasive and makes you (the mother) feel good.
The so-called ‘Mozart effect’ has been somewhat of a legend, with expecting moms have been practicing for a very long time.
The concept of classical music making your bump-resident smarter came about in the late 1990s, entertaining the idea of classical music contributing to a faster fetus development. Apparently, psychologist Frances Rauscher’s study found a link between listening to Mozart and IQ, but there were too many holes in the theory to hold it likely. Even though there was no conclusive evidence supporting the theory, using classical music as a tool to help your baby develop into a smarter individual was used as a dominant parenting method for decades.
Speaking of music, here are some interesting things to consider:
Even though Mozart (or any other classical artist) won’t make your little one any smarter, it will definitely help their brain get more active. Since music facilitates neuron connections in the brain and stimulates the growth of brain structures, playing music for unborn baby brain development appears to be – if not essential than desirable.
What is more, some new studies say that babies, up to four months after being born, remember the music they listened to in the womb! Plus, soothing music has proven effective in encouraging premature babies to feed. Oh, and – let’s not forget that playing music to your unborn baby poses an integral part of prenatal bonding as well. So, feel like taking those headphones out yet?
Plenty of recent studies showcased that a mother’s voice has a calming effect on her unborn child, decreasing their heart rate. Intonation in a voice (the calmer, the better) shapes up the baby’s auditory learning, leading to the baby first recognizing, then forming a preference for their mother’s voice. Further, the mother’s voice impacts the baby’s emotional and social development.
Playing music for your unborn child has more benefits than downsides. On that note, even if you don’t secure your fetus an Einstein-like brain before it’s even born, that’s fine – you’ll ensure it a loving development either way, supported by its mother’s love, good intention and a healthy approach to its well-being.