Dolby Surround in the Uterus

30. June 2010

Music’s great for the spirit and the brain. But is it good for the baby as well? In times when having a baby is something more wanted in a later age – an age people normally used to turn more towards esoterics – it doesn’t come as a surprise that the trust in the benedictory effects of prenatal supersonic sounding booms.

Whether you believe it or not: If you attack a 8 to 16 weeks old fetus targeted with sound waves he/she will show measurable reactions. This information is now nearly twenty years old. Researchers from Northern Ireland found it out when they made a study “treating” 400 fetuses with acoustic sounds while they “ultrasounded” them medically (Shahidullah S., International Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Studies 4(3/4):235ff).

Prenatal music brings harmony between mother and child

This observation is particularly remarkable since the structure of the ear – as many other parts of the fetus – can not be described as really fully developed at that point of time. Whether we are talking 16 weeks or even a little bit later: It’s a fact that a fetus is able to hear. Obviously the tiny ones prefer classical music and folk songs. Many studies for example were made with the lullaby composed by Johannes Brahms (“Guten Abend, gut’ Nacht”). As early as 1975, studies showed: If you play this song six times a day to premature babies they gain weight faster than children only being “spoken to” in the same frequency. Of more recent date are studies about the influence of prenatal music exposition made in mother-child-groups regarding later interaction between mothers and their children. The Finnish scientist Kaarina Marjanen dealt with this in her thesis published last year. Her message: Joint prenatal musical experience of mother and child has a decidedly positive influence on the mother-child relationship during the first 18 months of life. Among other things this was connected with mothers active musically during pregnancy were able to handle breastfeeding better, musically trained babies slept better and several emotional parameters of the moms were considerably more positive.

Dolby Surround in uteri

Well, mother-child groups with an educational demand are not every woman’s pair of shoes. But that does not necessarily mean that mothers loathing prenatal group meetings have to sacrifice by foregoing the blessing effects of music. The easiest to sound your baby is the stereo system – which is not quite en-vogue any more in our subtle times… For example the Nuvo Group, a company in Columbia/USA, shows one alternative. They recently started to market a sound system named RITMO especially for pregnant women, a product adjusted to the gadget fashion in design and functionality. It’s a belt with Velcro optically quite successful enough to wear it even in summer with a blouse around the pregnant belly. The belt even has a pocket and a connector for an iPod. The real highlight though are the four integrated loudspeakers sounding the baby from left and right as well as up and down, a kind of Dolby surround for the fetus. There is also a controller to make sure that it doesn’t get too much for the baby which enables a certain regulation of the volume. It recognizes different recording volumes and corrects them.

Child grows. Belt as well.

The beauty of the Nuvo Group solution is that it comes along comparatively ‘unesoterically’. A competitive product like for example the BabyPlus Prenatal Education System is not just less fashionable. It has this wrenched pseudo-pedagogic attempt making so many baby-products overly intrusive, even with their names. Things sound a lot more relaxed with the Nuvo Group. Mom can wear it even after she gave birth when her belly is back to normal. Then it’s a practical iPod storage when you go jogging or do yoga. According to the company they are now working on applications for babies and infants as well. In brief: The thing might be worth it even if you are not planning on ten children. On the other hand: The stereo system does the job just fine as well.

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