Do you want your baby to be born with an appreciation of classical music? Broadway show tunes? Your favorite rock bands? Would you just be happy if the baby listened to something besides the annoying stuff your husband or boyfriend blares all day long? Then the Babypod may be the new invention for you. It’s more that just holding headphones to your belly. It’s more than a wearable music machine. The Babypod (so its inventors claim) is the world first “insertable” speaker system that will emit low volume music for your unborn to listen to. Is this the Mozart Effect 2.0 or just a ploy to have babies born already hooked on using iTunes?
The Babypod was conceived (pun intended) by Babypod / Music in Baby SLU in Barcelona, Spain, after a study by the Institut Marquès (a center for Gynecology, Obstetrics and Assisted Reproduction in Spain) found that fetuses show reaction to sounds at 16 weeks. To get the music as close to the fetus’ developing ears as possible, the inventors went beyond the old “press your belly against the Bose” technique and created an intravaginal speaker that broadcasts at 54 decibels – the volume of a quiet conversation. The other end connects via a wire to a smartphone which contains the playlist selected for the fetus to listen to. A set of auxiliary headphones allows the future mom to listen in and make sure her husband didn’t swap her Mozart for Motorhead.
Does it work? The phrase “Mozart Effect” was coined in 1993 after a study found that college students who listened to Mozart did better on tests. That prompted an interest in exposing newborns to classical music (former Georgia governor Zell Miller gave classical CDs to new mothers and Florida day care centers were required to play it on their sound systems) and that led to the idea of giving newborns a head start by aiming speakers and headphones directly at the bellies of pregnant moms.
While Babypod and the Institut Marquès say their intravaginal technique works better, independent scientific studies on the benefits of exposing a fetus to Mozart or rock music or any other sounds other than the voice of their mother are inconclusive at best. Many experts say a better plan is to give young children a musical instrument and lessons instead.
That will also help avoid embarrassing questions on the subway about why your belly is bopping to a different beat than your head is.
(The video is a recent concert by Soraya Arnelas for pregnant women using Babypods)