Authored by Donna Johnson in Pregnancy
Published on 09-26-2009
In recent years, doctors have come to understand much more about how babies develop in the womb. Thanks to this knowledge and its availability on the Internet, if you’re a mother-to-be you can easily find out when your baby develops her organs, limbs, and senses. One of the most important senses is hearing, and your unborn baby is now known to be able to hear at about week 18 of your pregnancy, with her hearing being fully functional during the last trimester.
When it first became clear that a baby could hear and respond to sounds while in utero, many doctors began to wonder if this ability could be used to the baby’s advantage. Some doctors began to advocate playing music to your unborn baby to attempt to increase her intelligence. But what type of music works best for this purpose?
Classical music is most often touted as the best type of music for your unborn baby to listen to. Beethoven, Mozart, and Handel are among composers that are generally recommended. Some say that classical music not only increases your baby’s ability to learn later in life, but is also soothing to her while she is in your womb. Classical music can also help you to relax, which is very good for your baby.
If you are not a big fan of classical music though, you do have other choices in music to play for your unborn baby. Just about any type of music will actually work well for you. The key is to find a musical piece that has a good rhythm and flow with some repetition of elements. You don’t want to select a song that has a lot of sounds and elements that don’t go together well or a song that is too chaotic or noisy.
Above all, the best music for unborn babies is music that is kept at a tolerable level and duration. You may think that it’s necessary to turn the music up louder so that your baby can hear it through your abdomen, but this is not the case. The amniotic fluid that surrounds your baby is an excellent conductor of sound, so the music will easily be heard. In fact, turning up the volume to over 70 decibels, the level of Muzak in a store, can actually be too loud for your baby. If you choose to use headphones placed on your abdomen instead of a stereo in the background, the volume should be even lower. When you use headphones on your abdomen, you should only do so for about an hour, as longer periods of listening can over stimulate your baby.
Studies are still being done on the long term benefits of playing music for your unborn baby. While researchers can’t agree if the music helps, most do admit that if it’s done properly it can’t hurt. If you are careful to choose pieces that both you and your baby enjoy, and play them properly, you may find yourself with a smarter child in the long run. But you will definitely benefit from a much more relaxed, stress-free pregnancy today.