Your voice & your baby
There has been a great deal of research into the effect of a mother’s voice on her unborn child. When a mother reads aloud, her voice has a calming effect on her unborn or newborn baby, decreasing their heart rate5. Intonation in a voice has been proved to shape auditory learning, leading to her newborn recognising, and forming a preference for, their mother’s voice6. And not only does her voice affect the development of her baby’s auditory system, but amazingly, it also impacts their social and emotional development5.
“Music during pregnancy does have a long-term effect on an unborn baby’s brain.”
Music and the brain
Despite a lack of evidence that classical music creates cleverer babies, interesting studies have shown that music may have a part to play in brain development before birth. European research in 2013, for example, showed that exposing an unborn baby to music had a long-term effect on their brain7. They found that newborn babies could remember a version of 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star' played to them in the womb and responded differently when alternative versions were played. These memories created before they were born, lasted until they were four months old7.
“Soothing music may encourage premature babies to feed.”
- Why not play music around the house and see if you get a reaction? Just remember to keep the volume down!
- Relaxation is good for both of you, so make time to put your feet up and listen to songs that make you happy.
- If you enjoy going to see live music, go for it. Your baby is protected from most loud noises by the layers surrounding them. Exposure to prolonged and extreme noise, however, may be harmful.
- Singing songs to your bump is a lovely way to bond, and your baby will appreciate your voice, even if others don’t.
- Find out more about the amazing benefits of talking to your bump.
This is just one article exploring the science behind early language development. Find out more with Hello In There, our insightful series of expert articles and videos.