Music therapy for unborn babies has become increasingly en vogue in recent years and is advocated by many psychologists and psychiatrists. However, not many people know that music has been used for its curative powers since ancient civilization, and has pulled in many high profile fans over the years including Plato and Aristotle.
If you are pregnant you will no doubt be eager to ensure that you do everything possible to aid your unborn baby’s development. Babies can begin to hear clearly at around the 20-week stage of pregnancy and research has suggested that they will actually remember the music you play to them in the womb.
Music and fetal Development
Scientists played music to pregnant mothers three weeks before birth and then tested the babies one month after their birth. It was shown that when the babies heard melodies they had been played in the womb their heart rate slowed at a greater rate compared to music that they had not been played and was unfamiliar to them.
There have been many questions asked regarding the link between music and fetal development, but observing a baby from within the womb is incredibly difficult. Many experts are quick to point out that there is no finite evidence to prove that playing music to an unborn baby will help with their development. Despite this, there are many people that are positive that playing classical music to your baby will have the best effect.
The idea that classical music is helpful to development stems from research conducted by a scientist in the early 1990’s. Frances Rauscher, and other scientists coined the famous ‘Mozart Effect’ – his theory stated that listening to the classical music of Amadeus Mozart increased the neuron pathways in the brain, with a positive affect on intelligence, even before a child is born.
Quite often your baby will relax in tune with you and will pick up on sounds and situations that are calming to their mother. When born, babies will therefore remember sounds that relaxed you, like the theme tune to your favourite TV program for example. So in reality, whatever music a baby’s mother enjoys, the baby is likely to enjoy. Test your baby’s preferences by playing different types of music to gauge their response – perhaps your baby will be still throughout Mozart but start head banging as soon as they hear some Led Zeppelin.
It is important to remember that if music is too loud for you, then it will definitely be too loud for your baby and it’s probably best to steer clear from using headphones to stream music directly to your baby.
Did you play music to your unborn child? With any luck you’ll be harboring one of the world’s most successful musicians inside your womb. Let us know what you think of music therapy for your baby.