Since mothers want their babies to grow up healthy and smart, they obtain comprehensive prenatal care services for a trouble-free pregnancy. Some also play music for baby in the womb with the hope of promoting their child’s mental development. The Washington Post writer Meeri Kim reports on a research’s findings that babies in utero do recognize the music played by their expectant moms.
“THE RESEARCHERS HAD 10 EXPECTANT MOTHERS PLAY “TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE STAR” LOUDLY MULTIPLE TIMES PER WEEK THROUGHOUT THEIR LAST TRIMESTER OF PREGNANCY. A FEW DAYS AFTER BIRTH, THEY TOOK ELECTROENCEPHALOGRAM, OR EEG, RECORDINGS OF EACH NEWBORN’S BRAIN BY USING 12 ELECTRODES SCATTERED OVER DIFFERENT REGIONS OF THE HEAD.
UPON HEARING THE LULLABY AGAIN, THEY HAD SIGNIFICANTLY LARGER BRAIN RESPONSES THAN A CONTROL GROUP OF NEWBORNS WHO HAD NOT BEEN EXPOSED TO THE SONG. THE EXPERIMENT WAS REPEATED AFTER FOUR MONTHS WITH SIMILAR RESULTS.
STUDY CO-AUTHOR AND UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI PSYCHOLOGIST MINNA HUOTILAINEN REFERS TO THIS PHENOMENON AS “PRECONSCIOUS LEARNING.” THE BABIES HAVE NO AWARENESS OF IT — NO “OH, THAT OLD SONG FROM MY INTRAUTERINE DAYS”—BUT SOMEHOW THEIR BRAINS CAN STILL PICK UP ON THE FACT THAT THEY HAVE HEARD IT BEFORE.”
Playing music for in-utero babies is nothing new. In fact, doing so is commonplace that even a popular media management software offers several albums designed specifically for that purpose. Moms-to-be who intend to follow this practice, however, must take into account three critical points first.
Type of Music
Most expectant mothers prefer classical music over any other type of music for their unborn baby. However, pediatric specialists say any type is suitable. A good option to add to the in-utero baby’s repertoire is natural womb music that mimics the rhythmic and comforting sound of the mom’s heartbeat.
Playing music on speakers is recommended. However, if headphones are used, moms-to-be should remember not to turn up the volume too loud as this can stress their unborn child more than soothe them. The ideal volume is below 60 decibels (an iPod or iTouch can produce up to 115 decibels). The sound level of the womb’s continuous maternal bloodpulse is 95 decibels.
Pediatricians recommend that expectant moms practice prenatal music stimulation in moderation, ideally during their rest or nap time. Overstimulation won’t cause physical harm to the unborn baby, but it could overwhelm him or her. Meanwhile, natural womb sounds can be played for as long as one hour, twice a day.
Mothers want the best for their kids, and who’s to say that they can’t start early? These days, they have the option of making their unborn child listen to music through headphones, or to womb sounds through an especially designed electronic device that is placed onto the mom’s abdomen, available from prenatal education specialists like BabyPlus.
(Source: Newborn babies in study recognized songs played to them while in the womb, washingtonpost.com)
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