Speaking of prenatal focus, most commonly everyone will talk of vitamins and supplements, about mother’s need for basic body exercise whilst music as a great stimuli for child’s brain development would come to mind after some brainstorming but what about music for pregnancy connected to the health of the mother and the baby?
It was only found after the years spent on audio tests in the previous century that the fetus starts to hear sounds around the 16th week, much earlier than the ear is fully formed, and the active hearing starts around the 24th week. After it was found that generally music carries a huge dose of happiness within it and that humans find satisfaction in listening to their favorite songs even after 100 times, many doctors confirmed that classic music gives tranquilizer effect, while in babies it also opens a road for higher mathematical intelligence. So, classical music for pregnancy can be one of you first choices to start listening.
The very own voice of mother however is the first bond between the mother and her baby. Being in mother’s womb, listening to her voice more than anyone else’s voice assures the baby that mother is always there, and after the birth, in the moments of crying, sometimes after only one word that came out from mother’s mouth, the child turns silent.
The lullabies of some mothers who sang during the pregnancy and continued with singing in the first months after birth tend to stay the favorite lullabies of their kids, it’s almost like sleep music for pregnancy! If you’re also curious about the stages of pregnancy and want to know about them in detail, not only music but other details about pregnancy after 12 weeks may interest you.
How Fetus Reacts on Music?
Many doctors in collaboration with music professors and other academic workers have been deeply investigating the course of how the fetus reacts to different types of music during the pregnancy. They have found that babies in the womb feel and hear all the outdoor sounds. Babies listen to and learn sound patterns and frequencies relevant to their own culture, and it is said they can hear sounds ranging from 16 to 20,000 Hertz (normal range of sound).
The sounds they hear affect their movements, there appears to be some song on which babies in the last stage of pregnancy even ‘dance in belly’, while they also feel the movements sounds such as car or bus sounds when they tend to do some acrobatics to participate in movement as well so it’s not always the best or good music for pregnancy but the sound matters, too.
First language lessons also come through the mother’s speech and music, where the role of speech is shown as extremely important because kids born to mothers who lost speech ability and did not talk to them during pregnancy showed a tendency of slight speech delay.
Fetuses proved to give a positive outcome to most music types, even rock, if the mother enjoys it for real. However, very loud sounds that come from nature or surroundings constantly can produce negative effects that come to the surface in first check-ups after birth. A Japanese study found that pregnant women who lived near the airport in Osaka gave birth to smaller children and were more prone to premature birth. Loud noise is also associated with some birth defects.
What to Listen to During Pregnancy?
In recent years, science has made great advancements in the field of brain research. Brain research from the earliest stage of its formation has proved to be the right approach for analyzing all five senses in babies including hearing.
Psychoacoustics is a new discipline that connects psychology, physiology and acoustics and studies the perception of sound: the way we listen, our physiological reactions and the neurological impact of music and sound on the brain and other parts of the human nervous system.
Music recordings of classic parts that have been prepared according to psychoacoustic standards have the purpose of improving hearing and brain function, while providing a wonderful musical experience. Carefully selected music during pregnancy can serve to relieve stress and relax a pregnant woman, provide mild musical stimulation to an unborn baby, and later on to calm a crying infant, encourage toddlers to play and to more actively explore the environment.
It was found for 91% of babies who were born from mothers who opened Mozart pieces during the last stage of pregnancy that those babies had slower movements and that in the early stage of their life they tend to stay calmer after listening to the same music. (The matter of prioritizing Mozart in front of other composers by generation of parents is called ‘Mozart Effect’).
Some other famous pieces for almost an adequate amount of meditation music for pregnancy are as follows:
- Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ – specially ‘Spring’
- ‘Pictures from the exhibition’ by Mussogorski
- Beethoven and his ‘For Elise’
- ‘Air on G string’ – Bach
- Other slow pieces of Vivaldi, Haydn and Mozart.
How to Adjust Music for Babies and Is It Good to Leave the Speaker Near to the Belly?
For the biggest part of pregnancy babies stay still and in sleep, around 90% even in the 32nd week of pregnancy and around 80% in the last weeks of pregnancy. Mothers usually figure out very early at what period of the day their babies are more active (some babies, the bigger part of them actually raise their movements in evening hours), thus finding half to one hour during this period to play some suitable music may be ideal.
Without any concern you could play music through your stereo, from your laptop even because there is no special need to put headphones on your stomach since amniotic fluid conducts sound well.
It is good to play music that relaxes you, that you enjoy, because your mood affects the baby. If you are relaxed and happy, the baby will be too. Also, you don’t have to play music, just sing. The baby will get acquainted with music and tie it to your voice, which pleases it. Happy sounds and happy music for pregnancy will catch your baby’s attention easily.
Very loud sounds are not recommended because the baby feels them as a type of disturbance, however it was not found to be harmful to keep the speaker near the belly.
All Sounds That Baby Hears During the Nine Months
As already mentioned, all intrauterine processes have some type of consequence or its type of prolongation after the pregnancy is terminated. Music/sound acts as an active transmitter directly on the baby’s cellular system as well as on the pituitary system, creating an impression. Therefore, different sensations will be incorporated by the baby after birth and by repeating these sounds, the old musical-sound experiences will evoke the memory of a pleasant intrauterine state.
Baby develops his hearing through several steps during pregnancy, where it’s clear that some of the first sounds that babies hear continuously are the sounds of the inner organs of the mother. This is how the baby also hears: mother’s heartbeat, breathing rhythm, digestive system, umbilical cord blood flow, mother’s muscular movements.
After the fourth or fifth month the baby hears high frequency sounds- mother’s voice and gradually sounds from the outside including the dad’s voice, music listened to by mom and dad, siblings, and even sounds produced by pets.
Easy songs that come with mother’s natural rhythm, songs that awaken happiness in mother and that mothers sing repeatedly become some sort of ‘Womb Song’.
Womb song is presented as the melody of a certain song that is most familiar to the unborn baby.
There are other ways to stimulate music’s influence during the pregnancy including ‘music workshops’ for mothers where in more individual groups of less members (up till 10) mothers practice soft singing which will produce positive effects on their babies’ brain development. Soft music for pregnancy will help you calm and ease your baby as well.
With these workshops mothers learn that their communication with the baby has eventually started through the music without even being fully aware of that.
From the religious aspect, in Muslims cultures worldwide it is not uncommon to open recitals of suras from The Qur’an during the pregnancy because it is believed that the holy words also produce a calming effect to the unborn baby, it’s a good example of calming music for pregnancy. Not only mentally calming, but physical exercises to lead a healthy pregnancy and labor may concern you. You can even do both together!
Most famous lullabies in slow rhythm such as ‘Hush Little Baby’, ‘Holy Night’ and ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ can also be a good option of choice which can be played every night at the same time, just before mother falls asleep.
Important Tips for Playing Music During Pregnancy
Do Not Play Too Much Music.
Constant exposure of the fetus to pregnancy means nothing more than an ordinary amount of stimulus that will increase brain development. You as mother ought to listen to music for your own pleasure and not for the uncleared need of your baby for music.
Do not play music too loudly.
Don’t forget or do not avoid singing too even if you question your vocal abilities. Mother’s voice gives the best soothing vibes to the child and it’s the very first type of unbreakable bond between the two of them.
Do not put your instrument aside if you are playing one.
Piano or guitar as instruments which do not produce sounds of high volume should not be ditched by any means since they will keep mother entertained and also introduce her hobby to the baby.