Pregnancy is a miraculous and transformative time when a mother’s body nurtures and prepares a new life. As expectant parents, we often seek ways to bond with our unborn child and provide them with a positive environment. One beautiful and captivating way to connect with your baby is through the universal language of music.
We recently checked in with Cindy-Joy Smith, music teacher and owner of Aria Private Music Studio to learn more about the enchanting world of prenatal music and delve into the numerous advantages it can offer both mother and child. Here are a few of the amazing insights she shared:
Stimulating early brain development
The journey of music begins even before birth. Numerous studies have shown that playing music to your baby in the womb can positively influence their brain development. As early as the 16th week of gestation, a baby’s auditory system starts to develop, allowing them to hear and process sounds.
“Although the baby will not be able to understand the music, they will try to focus on the sound; and that act of focusing is in itself a part of brain development. As music is vibration, there may also be some development of reflexes and mobility whilst listening to music – as the mother moves to the music, so does the baby. The baby may even occasionally turn their head towards the sound of the music,” explains Cindy-Joy.
By exposing your baby to melodious tunes, you can potentially enhance their cognitive abilities, language skills, and memory formation. The soothing rhythms and harmonies may contribute to the development of neural connections in their growing brain, laying the foundation for future learning.
Reducing stress & anxiety
Pregnancy can be a time of heightened emotions and occasional stress. Playing gentle and relaxing music to your unborn baby can create a soothing and calming environment for both of you. Research has shown that music has the power to lower stress hormones in pregnant women, leading to a more relaxed and serene state of mind.
“If the person who is pregnant is enjoying the music, they are more likely to relax. This process releases certain chemicals in the carrier’s brain which also affects their body, and the result is that the baby also experiences this chemical reaction. In a very unromantic and scientific way, therefore, music can aid in the bond formed between the pregnant person and the baby. As a calming agent, music can even help to power blood pressure and lessen prenatal anxiety,” Cindy-Joy elaborates.
Enhancing parent-child connection
Music possesses a unique ability to evoke emotions and foster connections. Playing music to your baby in the womb allows them to recognise and become familiar with your voice, creating a special bond from the earliest stages of development. The rhythmic beats and melodies can serve as a bridge between the parent and child, paving the way for a harmonious relationship once the baby is born. Additionally, the shared experience of listening to music during pregnancy can help parents feel more connected to their baby and establish a sense of closeness even before they enter the world.
Fostering familiarity & comfort
After birth, babies often display a preference for sounds and melodies that they were exposed to during pregnancy. By regularly playing certain types of music during pregnancy, you can create a musical memory for your child. This familiarity can bring them a sense of comfort and security in the postnatal period, as they are surrounded by sounds that they have already become accustomed to.
“Studies have shown that babies can recognise music played to them in the womb for up to four months after birth. As most parents know, those can be some of the most difficult months, and anything that can aid in calming the little one is a huge benefit. In this way, the same music played to the baby in the womb has been shown in some cases to assist in calming the baby, and the parent too, as a result,” says Cindy-Joy.
Boosting auditory development
Exposing your unborn baby to a diverse range of musical genres and styles can have a positive impact on their auditory development. From classical compositions to contemporary melodies, the varied sounds can help refine their sense of hearing and appreciation for different tones. As they listen to different instruments and vocal arrangements, they develop a keen ear for harmonies and rhythms. This exposure can even lay the groundwork for future musical aptitude and appreciation, fostering creativity and artistic expression later in life.
Final notes from the music teacher
“Having said all this, it is not necessary to overload an unborn baby with hours of music,” Cindy-Joy advises.
“Whilst studies have shown that classical music provides the most stimulation and benefits for babies (in the womb and out), a few minutes a day, or even several times a week is more than enough to benefit from the music. Just remember…if the parent is not enjoying the music, the benefits may be limited. I would recommend listening mostly to whatever music or artists calm you, be that Mozart, Enya, Taylor Swift, ACDC or Metallica. Don’t force yourself to listen to something you don’t like, especially if you plan on also using it to calm your baby once they as born. Keep your sanity and allow your music to help you remember who you are, even after you have your baby.”
In short, the power of music knows no bounds, and its enchanting effects can begin even before birth. By playing music to your baby in the womb, you provide them with a world of stimulation, comfort, and connection. From boosting their brain development to reducing stress, music offers a multitude of benefits for both mother and child in an easy and enjoyable way.
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