In the third trimester of pregnancy, scientists have proven that an unborn baby can recognise their mother's voice and even start to retain word patterns and rhymes. It makes sense then, that sounds and music also have an influence, but does listening to specific types of music really influence your baby's development?
At around 16-18 weeks of pregnancy, your baby will hear their very first sounds, and by 24 weeks, it has been shown that babies move their heads in response to voices and noises as your baby's ears start to develop more quickly at this stage.
Babies exposed to music before birth have longer attention spans than expected for their age and faster cognitive development. This is because listening and experiencing music stimulates the foetus' brain and assists with brain structures growth. Melodic and gentle soothing music such as lullabies have especially been shown to support this. Incredibly, music played throughout pregnancy can be recognised by your baby for up to three months after they are born.
Although it has been said that classical music may support the brain development of babies in the womb, there is little proof of this. However, studies have shown that classical music has a calming effect that supports healthy sleep patterns once your baby is born.
As a part of prenatal bonding, singing to your baby will help your baby get to know your voice, feel safe and secure, and create a strong attachment to you. Your baby will also be learning about the rhythms of speech, so it's really beneficial to have other members of your family sing or talk to your baby too.
If you listen to your favourite relaxing music, this will disperse calming chemicals throughout your body, which has a soothing effect on both you and baby. Music is shown to lowers stress levels and is positive for your wellbeing. This soothing effect will help you to relax and will contribute to your baby's health and development.
When enjoying music with your baby, it's best to keep the volume at 50 to 60 decibels, or about the same loudness of a normal conversation. It's not a good idea to put headphones on your tummy, though, as it's too loud for your baby.Music and sounds can be a wonderful benefit to your unborn baby's development and is a beautiful way to relax and bond with your baby.