Having your favourite music blasting out of the CD player while sitting with your feet up is very relaxing at the best of times.
But it’s especially relaxing when you’re pregnant! And it’s not just good for you – your baby will also benefit!
You don’t have to just take our word for it though….over the last few years, there have been quite a few studies into the effects of music not only on your stress levels during pregnancy, but also on your unborn baby.
One Taiwanese study in 2008, for example, showed that music could reduce the stress, anxiety and depression that many pregnant women experience. A study of 236 pregnant women showed that the participants, who listened to music for half an hour each day for two weeks, significantly reduced their stress, anxiety and depression.
In Germany, meanwhile, a 2014 study found that mums to be showed greater changes in blood pressure readings in response to music than other women. The researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig played a series of ten to 30-second clips of music to pregnant and non-pregnant women. The results showed that music was a significant stimulus for pregnant women.
In another study, researchers carried out a study in which a dozen Finnish women with non-complicated pregnancies participated in a group, which was instructed to listen to a CD five times a week from 29 weeks into their pregnancy until they had given birth. One of the songs on the CD was ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ and, in total, the women played the CD between 46 and 64 times.
Four months after the babies were born, the researchers discovered that the babies reacted to the same sounds when they were exposed to the music again, leading the study authors to conclude that exposing a fetus to the same sounds may be beneficial to the development of its auditory functions.
It’s not clear why music has such a strong impact in pregnancy, but it’s thought that higher levels of estrogen may play a contributing role. That’s because estrogen affects the brain’s reward system, which is responsible for the pleasant sensations experienced while listening to music.
Other benefits of music in pregnancy:
- The positive vibes that you get from listening to music during pregnancy will create a prenatal stimulation that will help you to bond with your baby
- Music is thought to improve your unborn baby’s reflexes. That’s because your baby can hear the vibrations and will start reacting to them
So, how do you make sure that both you and your unborn baby get the most out of music?
Well, if you want to make sure that she can hear it from the womb, play the music through headphones and place them on your belly for maximum impact. Remember though not to play it too loudly – or for too long! She has to be able to relax sometimes instead of constantly listening to rhythm or beats.
The type of music you play depends on your own preferences. It doesn’t have to be simply classical music! Do take care if you’re listening to very loud or hard rock music as the constantly shifting beats and volume may stress your baby!