Music during pregnancy Featured

By Jan de Lange

Listening to music during pregnancy has a range of benefits for both mother and baby. From baby’s brain development to easing the stresses of pregnancy for the mom-to-be, here are some of the benefits of listening to and playing music for your unborn bundle.

Foetal development of hearing

Baby’s develop ears as early as three weeks into gestation, but they only start hearing at about sixteen weeks. As they gain hearing they immediately start reacting to the sounds they hear and start actively listening out for familiar sounds by twenty-four weeks.

Stress relief

Excessive stress levels during pregnancy can have adverse effects on the development of the foetus. Music and singing are a great way of dealing with stress in general and taking a moment to sing to your unborn baby will almost certainly be an excellent stress reliever. Studies have shown that listening to music and especially singing release a flood of stress relieving chemicals, like endorphins, into your bloodstream. These make it into the placenta and are highly beneficial to your baby.

Foetal brain development

Listening to music engages the entire brain. This makes listening to music really good for brain development. Stimulating the whole brain encourages early connections between neurons. Listening to music then helps the brain lay the early, structural foundations for cognitive thought. More recent research also suggests that babies often remember and can recognise music they listened to in the womb for up to four months after birth.

What should we listen to?

There isn’t anything specific you should (or shouldn’t) listen to. Just keep in mind that much of this will still be very new to your baby. So, stick to music that is relaxing and easy to listen to. Some experts have suggested that simpler melodies are best at this stage. That gives your baby something they can easily follow and reap cognitive benefits from. That of course doesn’t mean you are restricted to YouTube’s Twinkle-Twinkle-toddler’s playlists. Feel free to also listen to more interesting and complex music as, just be mindful of what your baby might find relatable as well.

Watch the volume

Bear in mind that your baby is surrounded by sound. They can hear you breathing, your heart beat and your stomach growl. The fact is it can get pretty noisy in there. So, keep the volume of what you’re listening to within reasonable limits. Keeping the volume on the same level as regular conversation is the best approach. This also means you should steer clear of the ‘headphones on your belly’ trope. This can raise the volume to higher than ideal levels for your baby and denies you the opportunity to share in the listening with your baby!

Music is one of life’s great joys. It’s never to early or too late to introduce your baby to it. It has some wonderful benefits in the womb for you and your child while it also encourages bonding before birth between the two of you. Play on!

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