Music and your unborn child

Music for unborn child
Does music affect fetal development?

No one knows for sure. Some studies indicate that fetuses can hear and react to sound by moving. But no one really knows what those movements mean because experts can’t observe an unborn baby as easily as a baby that has already been born.

Does playing music make my baby smarter?

No research supports the idea that playing music when your baby is in the womb makes her smarter. You may have heard that exposure to music makes kids of all ages smarter in math, but Gordon Shaw, a research pioneer in neuroscience at the University of California at Irvine, says these studies focused on older children, not fetuses.

For example, piano lessons may enhance children’s spatial reasoning skills (the ability to understand three-dimensional space), but researchers only tested 3- and 4-year-olds (see our article on Music and Your Toddler/Preschooler). Some experts surmise that if music has this profound effect on older kids, babies and even fetuses may benefit from it the same way.

Others say newborns can recognize music their parents played for them when they were in the womb and even perk up or fall asleep when they hear a familiar song. But Janet DiPietro, a developmental psychologist who studies fetal development at Johns Hopkins University, says these conclusions are purely anecdotal and aren’t based on true research.

Some also say that fetuses breathe in time to music they enjoy. California obstetrician Rene Van de Carr says he’s observed a 33-week-old fetus pattern his breathing to the beat of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Van de Carr, who wrote While You’re Expecting…Your Own Prenatal Classroom, says because the fetus followed the rhythm of the symphony, it’s obvious he learned something about the rhythm and enjoyed it. But other researchers such as DiPietro ask, “What reason do we have to think that breathing in time to music is a good thing?”

How do I play music for my unborn child?

Your best option is to play music on the stereo as you go about your day. It’s not a good idea to use headphones on your belly since the music is up close and may overstimulate the baby. “People tend to turn up the sound because they think it needs to be loud to penetrate the abdomen,” say experts like DiPietro. “But amniotic fluid is actually a good conductor of sound.”

Source: babycentre

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