Music and books
I like music, but I have never been one to always be listening to music at home or on the go.
Since around week 20, I think I’ve been listening to a lot more music. I’ve really been trying to mix it up and listen to a variety of things and albums I haven’t heard in years. Some favorites have been Michael Jackson (especially the Thriller album), the Wicked soundtrack, Rent soundtrack, Mamma Mia! Soundtrack (broadway cast), Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Beatles, 80’s music and 90’s alternative. Fred listens to the White Stripes a lot too so that’s been on a lot.
I really think this started because I wanted to expose Embers to as much music as possible. Embers is hearing everything around me.
Midwife note: The fetus can hear around weeks 16-18. By week 24, fetuses have been shown to turn their heads in response to sound.
Embers’ favorite song is “P.Y.T (Pretty Young Thing)” by Michael Jackson. It’s by far the song that has gotten the most response. Embers likes a lot of the Thriller album (mostly the upbeat songs), but P.Y.T seems to be the favorite.
I also feel like we get a good reaction from “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes. Fred plays this song pretty regularly and I like to tell Embers that it’s Daddy’s song.
Our new bedtime routine is to read a book or two to Embers and playing “Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight” by the Spaniels. This song was from Three Men and a Baby. I sometimes sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” too.
In the mornings, I often play “Good Morning” from Singing in the Rain. I also sing a Frelaine original song (yes, we make up songs and have many of them) that says good morning.
We think it’s really important to read to Embers, sing and play music and talk to Embers. I never thought I’d be so into these things and I’ve really surprised myself with it.
Midwife note: There is some evidence that a fetus can be positively stimulated by reading, talking and singing while in utero. It is believed by some that it can enhance intellectual development, but this is hard to prove. Some studies have shown that babies can recognize sounds, songs and voices when they are born. One study showed that fetuses could recognize their mothers’ favorite soap opera theme song when born (I can’t find this actual study but it’s cited a lot...Hepper PG (1998) 'Foetal 'soap' addiction' Lancet (June 11) 1347-1348).
Many people play music with speakers or special headphones on their bellies. I think this is not recommended, as water (amniotic fluid in this case) conducts sound and doing it this way is probably very loud for your baby. Playing music that you would hear is probably sufficient enough and I do not recommend the special speakers/headphones or playing anything too close.
There was also a study that showed that infants who were read “The Cat in the Hat” by their mothers during pregnancy sucked more after birth to hear their mother’s reading the book. Source
Some good summaries and articles I found:
Although some research is pretty inconclusive, there certainly seems no downside to exposing your unborn baby to reading, talking, music and singing. So we’ll continue to do all of those things until baby is born!
A pregnant midwife living and working in New York City