7 reasons you should play music for your unborn baby
We all know that music has the power to affect the way we feel. Whether it’s an upbeat track that motivates you to run a little faster or a chilled out tune that helps you to relax, the right song can change your mood and influence your actions.
But it turns out the power of music can affect us even before we’re born! Ever seen images of pregnant women with headphones on their bellies? Well, these expecting mums are helping their bubs’ health and development with music in utero, and the effects even continue after the babies are born. Registered nurse and sleep consultant Deb Herdman tells us exactly how this is possible, explaining the benefits of playing music for your unborn baby.
#1 The effects of hearing rhythm from music and voice that is repeated over a period of time (in utero) is said to correlate with a more developed auditory (hearing) system, which is crucial for language development, later on.
#2 Music can calm babies in utero and studies have shown that lullabies can slow a baby’s heart rate and increase levels of oxygen uptake on the brain.
#3 Because of the calming effects of music in utero, babies can actually remember those sounds after birth and can be calmed and reassured [by them in the future]. This is called foetal memory and is particularly helpful in stressful times when [a] baby is in pain, away from their primary carer (usually the mother), or having those normal newborn moments when parents just cannot find a way to settle their baby. Simply play the music the baby will remember from in utero and the baby will recognise and respond - amazing, right?!
#4 Music therapy is known to improve vital signs, decrease pain and reduce overall stress which means babies use less calories and can feed, sleep and grow better!
#5 Music can reduce a baby’s response to stress once born as all babies can remember their exposure to music for up to four months after birth.
#6 A mother listening to music to help calm herself also impacts the growing baby. If the music makes you feel calmer and less anxious, it is influencing your sympathetic nervous system to reduce blood pressure, heart and respiratory rate. As a direct consequence, less [of the] stress hormone is produced. A calmer mother means a calmer more relaxed baby.
#7 Music with regular, even and repetitive rhythms is ideal and music that contains a melody clearly wins [in regards to] any neurological benefits, with studies showing areas of the brain respond to melody and therefore nerve cell growth. So steer clear of dance hits and R&B classics!
Did you play music to your unborn child? Had you heard of any of these benefits?