4 Wonderful Effects Of Listening To Music During Pregnancy

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We often take refuge in our favorite music to de-stress and relax. Good music seems to heal, soothe emotions and uplift our mood. But, have you ever thought about what impact listening to music during pregnancy can have on the growing baby? Scientists have been working to understand how music can affect a developing fetus but have yet to reach a definite conclusion. However, your favorite music can always lift your mood and brighten you up, and you never know your baby inside may be enjoying it too. This post will tell you more about the effects music may have on the baby growing in your womb.

Music And Your Pregnancy: Is There A Connect?

While your baby is in your womb, there is a lot that is going on inside to support its overall growth and developmental process. All the experiences that your unborn baby will go through now will shape its future in the outside world.

Studies To Show The Effect Of Music On Your Unborn Baby

Medical experts have carried out various studies on pregnant women to find out the effects of music on the unborn babies. According to the results, unborn babies who were exposed to music while in the womb showed a significant improvement in their overall mental, cognizant, behavioral, sensory, psychological and emotional development as compared to those who were not exposed to any music while they were in the womb.

A study was carried out to check the effects of Indian classical music, specifically the Kalyani raga, on pregnant women. For the study, the women were asked to listen to Karnatic music of Kalyani raga for at least 20 minutes each day for 20 days. After those 20 days, researchers did a test to see if there were any changes in the unborn baby’s responses and other developmental parameters. They noted that the music did have a significant influence on both the unborn baby as well as on the pregnant woman. From improving the unborn baby’s reflexes, responses, movement and mental stimulation, it also had a calming and positive effect on the pregnant woman. [1]

What Are The Benefits Of Listening To Music During Pregnancy?

While you are pregnant, listening to music will not only have a soothing and uplifting effect on you but also a positive influence on your unborn baby. The positive vibes that you get from listening to music will create a prenatal stimulation that will help you to bond with your unborn baby. It will enable you to lower your stress and anxiety levels and also reduce any stress that your unborn baby may feel in the womb.

Here are some of the effects that listening to music can have on your unborn baby

  1. Will Improve Your Unborn Baby’s Reflexes: When you are listening to music while pregnant, your unborn baby will be able to hear the vibrations and will start reacting to the same. Your baby may also try to move in sync with the beats of the vibration. This may improve your unborn baby’s reflexes and reactions, and also its overall movement.
  1. Will Improve Your Unborn Baby’s Auditory Senses: As you listen to music with headphones, it will significantly enhance your unborn baby’s concentration, auditory senses, and skills. Your unborn baby may not be able to understand music at this stage, and what reach your baby are most likely the vibrations from sound waves. However, the baby will still try to concentrate on sounds, and doing so will better its mental stimulation.
  1. Will Act As A Soothing Lullaby After Birth: Many researchers believe that your unborn baby will be able to remember the music and the sounds that you listened to while you were pregnant. If you listen to certain soothing songs while you are pregnant, it is highly likely that your baby will remember them even after birth. It means that you can use the same music to sooth your little one after it is born. Your baby will be able to recognize the sounds and it will help to relax and calm your baby instantly.
  1. Will Shape Your Baby’s Overall Personality: The type of music you listen to while you are pregnant can have an effect on the baby’s overall personality. If you listen to soothing sounds and soft music, your baby could develop a calm personality. On the other hand, if you listen to music that is loud and jarring, it could lead to an aggressive and anxious personality of your baby. However, there are no medical studies or research to back the same as experts are still working on the same.

How Can You Make Sure That Your Unborn Baby Is Listening To Music?

Even though you may play a lot of music while you are pregnant, your unborn baby will not be able to listen to it the same way as you do. If you want to be certain that your baby hears the music from inside the womb, you can play it on your headphones and place the same on your belly.

Don’t play the music too loud just to ensure that your unborn baby can hear. Your placenta can carry the rhythms and beats to your baby even if you are playing something on a low volume.

How Much Music Should You Make Your Unborn Baby Listen To?

As with anything you do while you are pregnant, it is not a good idea to overdo the music part as well. If you want to play music in the background through the day, you can certainly do so on a loud speaker at normal volume levels.

If you are planning to listen to music on your headphones or want to place the headphones directly on your abdomen, then make sure you do not do so for more than a couple of hours a day, spaced out in smaller bits and parts. This ensures that your unborn baby relaxes for some time instead of constantly reacting to the rhythms and beats.

Through constant exposure of your unborn baby to loud music, you may unknowingly disturb your baby’s natural sleep pattern. It is important for your baby to sleep well while in the womb, as it develops many mental, physical, psychological and other developments in sleep.

Do You Only Have To Listen To Soft Music While You Are Pregnant?

The type of music you listen to depends largely on your personality and mood and what you are feeling at the moment. So it is not right to say that you should only listen to a particular type of music while you are pregnant.

In addition to listening to soft and soothing sounds and music, you can also listen to your favorite pop numbers. The beats from pop music have a certain rhythm and pattern to them, which your unborn baby will find easy to identify and remember.

Do remember that the way your baby breaths in your womb will also change according to the sounds and the beats that the baby hears. It means that if you are listening to very loud or jarring music, such as hard rock or very loud music, it can have an adverse impact on your unborn baby. It is fine if you are listening to such music for a short time but not for a longer stretch at a time, as the constantly shifting beats and rhythms from such music can actually cause stress to your unborn baby.

Should You Make Your Unborn Baby Listen To Classical Music?

Whether you should make your unborn baby listen to classical music is again a matter of your personal choice. While there is no medical data to support it yet, it is thought that making your unborn baby listen to classical music while still in the womb does have some positive effects. It is said that your baby will be able to appreciate the rhythms and sounds that emanate from classical music, and that the same can also help to soothe your little one after birth.

However, the main aim here should be to form an emotional connect with your unborn baby, and not to try and turn your little one into a classical music genius, even before it is actually born.

Will Listening To Music Actually Make Your Unborn Baby Smarter?

The opinion on whether or not listening to music will make your unborn baby smarter is still under a lot of debate. While one camp believes that exposing your baby to music while still in the womb will definitely increase the level of its smartness, the other camp feels that there is no real truth behind that. There is also this widespread belief that if you expose your unborn baby to music while it is still in the womb, it will make your baby smarter in math. There is no medical study to back the claim, and the studies that do exist are all conducted on older children and not unborn babies.

For instance, there are medical studies that show that if you expose your child to piano lessons, it will help to improve the skills of spatial reasoning. However, these studies were also conducted on three and four-year-old kids and not on unborn babies. Carrying forward the same logic, some people do believe that exposing unborn babies to the sounds of a piano can have similar effects on them.

How Do You Know If The Music Is Too Loud?

Exposing your unborn baby to very loud music is said to be risky as it could lead to premature birth. It can also cause certain other health complications such as low weight at the time of birth, or hearing difficulties or high frequency hearing loss at the time of birth.

While it may sound scary, doctors raise an alarm only if you listen to very loud music on a regular basis, or if you are constantly in an environment where there are very loud noises. Exposing your unborn baby to loud noises or music on a few occasions, such as a rare visit to a rock concert, will not have the same effect as prolonged exposure to loud music or noise.

Here are some of the sound levels that you should keep in mind

  • When you are listening to music on your player, make sure the volume is not higher than 65 decibels.
  • If you feel you are going to listen to the music for a long duration of time, keep the volume at or below 50 decibels.

Music helps you relax and feel positive. Stress or anxiety may have an adverse effect on the developing pregnancy. Music can help you de-stress and therefore have a healthier pregnancy. Research has already established the positive effects of music on the physical and mental growth and development of the fetus. But, it is best to avoid excessive or extremely loud music. Listening to soothing music during pregnancy can help you easily bond with your baby.


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shreeja pillai

Shreeja holds a postgraduate degree in Chemistry and diploma in Drug Regulatory Affairs from the University of Mumbai. Before joining MomJunction, she worked as a research analyst with a leading multinational pharmaceutical company. Her interest in the field of medical research has developed her passion for writing research-based articles. As a writer, she aims at providing informative articles on health... more

Kay Lakka

(MSc )
Kay Lakka is the founder of Londontherapy, a busy psychological practise in the center of London. She holds a BSc (hons) in psychology and MSc in the psychodynamics of human development and has numerous post graduate diplomas including advanced psychotherapy, guidance through dreams and psychosexual relationship counselling.  Also a doula and hypnobirthing teacher, Kay is a registered member of UKCP,... more