According to Baby Center, the true effect of music on prenatal development remains unknown. A loosely-controlled preliminary study in the “Music Educators Journal” in 1985 found that babies exposed to music before birth had longer attention spans than expected for their age and imitated adult sounds better. One more small study in 1997 in “Pre- & Peri-Natal Psychology Journal” looked at babies enrolled in a program called FirstStart, which exposed unborn babies to musical stimulation. These babies demonstrated better motor skills, language development and cognitive skills from birth to six months comparing to the control group of babies. On the other hand, since these studies were minute and have not been recurring, the query of whether and how much music influences unborn babies stays under investigation.
Babies can hear sounds from the outside world as early as when they are still in the womb. Music is one type of noise that gets a lot of attention. According to preliminary researches it appears to indicate that your unborn child might enjoy and benefit slightly from a daily dose of music although the jury is still out on the true impact of prenatal exposure to Mozart and Bach.
More or less at 17 weeks gestation a baby can start to hear sounds, normally just about the condition when the mother starts on feeling the first tiny flutters of movement and prior to the baby’s sex is clearly identifiable. At the time when the baby is on his 26 weeks, his heartbeat will rate rapidly in response to sounds, including music that comes from outside the womb. Babies have been observed breathing simultaneously with the music, signifying consciousness of the beat happening during 33 weeks gestation and by 38 weeks, a baby in the womb responds in a different way to different types of music, showing different rates of fetal movement
Back in 1991, a study concerning six pregnant women and a broader follow-up study in 1993 both examined at whether babies could be familiar with music they had heard in the womb after birth. Music includes: Classical piano music, vocal music and rock music were all played through headphones on the mother’s belly. Babies who heard music in the womb reacted with more awareness and physical actions during six weeks after birth, demonstrating that they have known the music they had heard in the womb. According to the BBC, this recognition of prenatal music experiences might actually last 12 months or more after birth. Letting babies listen to familiar music after birth might aid to calm a restless child who identifies the tune.
Mothers should remember that if they want to expose their unborn baby to music should not turn the volume up too loud. The too loud music could over stimulate the fetus or even damage the developing ear.