Pregnancy is an exciting and challenging time. Women are adapting to the changes in their own bodies while preparing, emotionally and physically, for a new addition to the family. Men are preparing for the future with a brand new infant in their own ways, as well. The anticipation, worry, and excitement of the arrival of a new life can lead to the wonderful discovery of the powerful effects of music during pregnancy on fathers, mothers and the baby-to-be.
Music is well known for its ability to calm and soothe the hearts and minds of people experiencing stress, anxiety, or depression. Music can be a healing tool for those with neurological disorders and is a universal way of communicating, even with a baby in the womb. In the last trimester of pregnancy, human hearing develops, and studies are proving that the sounds and music heard in the womb are remembered and even understood by newborn babies, months after their birth. Since music is an important part in healing neurological disorders by helping to connect areas of the brain together, some scientists believe that once a fetus can hear sounds from outside the womb, the same effect happens to the brain of the developing fetus.
These theories have been backed up by studies that indicate newborn infants can remember melodies played while they were developing during the third trimester. Familiar piano music, a mother's favorite song on the radio, or even the beat of a Djembe can all be heard by the fetus and later recalled by the newborn baby, much like the sounds of the voices of his or her mother or father. The advances seen in babies who were exposed to music during pregnancy, in terms of motor and cognitive development, may also indicate the strong benefit of private "baby bump" concerts as a way to prepare the family for the arrival of a newborn.
Since newborn babies are able to recall the sounds, voices and music heard while developing during the last trimester of a pregnancy, one of the best ways to prepare for childbirth and the foggy newborn era of life may be to establish a routine that includes certain songs, drumming or other music. As any parent of a newborn can attest to, the ability to find ways to soothe, calm and even engage an infant are as priceless as the baby who inspires the music.