Benefits of music therapy for you and your baby bump

If you haven’t created a personal favourite relaxation playlist, here’s a good reason to do so: Healing music can help you fight stress, find comfort, manage pain and – in the third trimester – may play a part in your unborn baby’s brain development. We take a look at how music can help you during your pregnancy.

Create Your Personal Playlist

Identify music that helps you feel comfortable and soothes you. Don’t follow someone else’s preferences or feel obligated to include a little classical music because the “experts” say it’s soothing. Only do so if it really works for you. Whether you like Mozart, Black Coffee, or Thandiswa, the music that most helps you relax is a personal decision.

Joanne Loewy, music therapist and director of the Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine says people are soothed by what they say soothes them, even if it’s heavy metal or house music. The most important aspect is how it is incorporated in your life.”

Music in the womb

In the third trimester, an unborn baby can recognise their mother’s voice, their native language, and even begin to remember word patterns and rhymes. By this regard, it makes sense that music also has an impact on your unborn baby. Your baby will definitely be able to hear the music you play and such, it’s encouraged that you play gentle sounds that are designed to be soothing.

Unborn babies are easily startled by very loud noises, and too much noise may be extremely stressful. Ensure that the volume is not too high and that your music choice is fairly melodic – perhaps wait a few more years before introducing your baby to your favourite Gqom and club banger tracks.

The fabled ‘Mozart effect’

It’s been a widely held notion that playing classical music to your unborn baby made your child more intelligent later in life. This concept became popular in the late 1990s, spawning a somewhat lucrative industry that sold “brain-boosting” music to pregnant mums. In reality, there’s little proof suggesting that this form of music therapy will contribute to making your offspring brighter.

The legend springs from psychologist Frances Rauscher’s study into American college students, where she found a small link between IQ and listening to Mozart. How the jump was made from students to unborn babies is something of a mystery, but may just be down to our natural desire to do what’s best for our children.

Grooving in Labour

Women planning a natural vaginal birth are encouraged to bring along music that will help assist in relaxing them during labour. The integration of music to the birthing process seems to be helpful as a distraction – where the mind creates images – or as a way to more actively create rhythmic breathing patterns. A mix of slow and fast music is recommend to support the breathing changes of labour. This can be a distraction which releases the focus on pain during labour.

Focusing on rhythmic music, inviting a drummer into the delivery room, or even beating out a rhythm with a free hand can interrupt the cycle of pain to provide release, says Loewy.

You don’t have to be a musician to appreciate good music. The ability of rhythm to ease pain has been noted among patients in cancer wards and women during labour.

Some tips to remember:

  • Play some music around the house and see if you get a reaction. Just remember to keep the volume down!
  • Relaxation is good for you and your bump. Make time to put your feet up and listen to songs that make you happy.
  • If you enjoy going to see live music, go for it. Your baby is protected from most loud noises by the layers surrounding them. Exposure to prolonged and extreme noise, however, may be harmful.
  • Singing songs to your bump is a lovely way to bond, and your baby will appreciate your voice, even if others don’t.

Music can extend the pain-fighting benefits by:

  • Increasing relaxation
  • Reducing loneliness
  • Providing emotional release
  • Enhancing a spiritual connection

So go compose that playlist and fill up your phone with your favourite musical selections. If you aren’t sure what healing music suits you, find a trained music therapists who can evaluate your taste and interests and make some recommendations to you.

How We Can Help You

Never be afraid to ask for help. We offer pregnancy tests and scans for you and you don’t need to feel alone – talk to any one of our helpline professionals. Find your nearest Marie Stopes clinic on our website and get in touch via our easy online booking form to book your next pregnancy scan, offering you the best.

Source: Marie Stopes South Africa (Safe Abortion and Post Abortion Family Planning)

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