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Your baby remembers the music you played in pregnancy

Babies have memories of music they heard in the womb, new research finds

Posted: 9 March 2011
by Kimberley Smith

Your baby can hear the outside world a few weeks before birth

Pick your pregnancy soundtrack carefully, because your baby will remember the music you listened to! Babies can remember music they heard in the womb after they are born, according to a new study of 50 mums and their babies.

Around five weeks before birth, a baby’s ears and brain develop enough to be able to hear sounds from outside the womb. Researchers played music to mums-to-be three weeks before birth and then to the babies at one month after birth. When the familiar piano music was played to the babies, their heart rates slowed. But when unfamiliar music was played, there was little difference in their heart rates.

“The large heart rate deceleration means the one-month-old infants paid more attention to the melody than they did to other melodies, even though they hadn’t heard it for six weeks,” said Carolyn Granier-Deferre, one of the researchers.

Your baby’s hearing develops in the final three months of pregnancy and in the month before birth, it’s almost complete. But experts have advised mums-to-be not to play music to their bumps all the time as too much stimulation isn’t necessary.

“There is no biological need for more auditory stimulation – more is not always better, especially during development,” Carolyn explained.

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