There have been numerous studies on the effects of music on living things. Everything from plants to animals have been shown to react to different genres of music, but what about a human fetus? Because an unborn fetus is much harder to observe than a small child, animal or plant, much of the research done has been speculative.
In theory, prenatal sonic stimulation should yield some positive results, including improved sleep patterns, sharper language skills, enhanced attention spans, and increased cognitive development. A recent study that had fetuses being exposed to 70 hours of classical music during the last few weeks of pregnancy showed that children exposed to classical music in the womb are more apt to have more positive physical and mental development after birth. When studied at six months, these babies were more advanced in terms of linguistic, intellectual and motor development than babies who received no musical stimulus during pregnancy.
That said, there certainly is also an intuitive sense that sonic stimulation should be beneficial- depending on the kind of music. If you base your judgement on how living things usually react to music, numerous studies have demonstrated the effects of different forms of music on plant growth, and classical forms always seems to win out when it comes to a plant’s preferred choice of musical style. All the studies have shown that plants apparently flourish – and grow toward – calmer classical music, while actively avoiding blaring heavy metal. In addition, animal studies indicate that exposure to “chaotic” or “atonal” music alters brain structure in a negative way.
Samir Becic and his Health Fitness Revolution team recommend that expectant mothers play music for their baby by either playing music on the stereo or placing earphones around your belly. If you are using earphones, the volume should not exceed 70 decibels and only do this for an hour a day so your baby isn’t over stimulated.