Sound and Its Effect on Prenatal Infants

By: Robert Thomson

Obstetricians have systematically investigated the effects of sound on unborn fetuses since the 1920's. The arrival of ultrasound equipment allowed researchers to expand what they know about fetal audition by actually monitoring the actions of fetus. Since the mid 90's, prenatal research has demonstrated that fetuses are physically, emotionally and spiritually cognizant individuals. The infants senses are just as active and functional while the

A mother's womb is anything but a warm quiet environment for a fetus. By the time the baby is five or six months in-utero, he or she has become familiar with the mother's heartbeat, the circulation of blood through the umbilical cord and a variety of digestive sounds. In fact, their hearing capacity is fully developed. Unborn children are also exposed to a litany of sounds from outside the safe environment of the mother's womb.

The noise may consist of the voices other people. Sometimes, it is the sound of a radio, a television or a stereo. Some experts claim that the sounds are muted at about 35 decibels. Therefore, when the sounds pass through the walls of the mother's abdomen they are muffled, and to the fetus, they are simply noises to which they do not yet have a frame of reference. This is what is known as "white noise." Others researchers believe that the white noise sounds are very clear and become discernable to the fetus with repetition. In addition to sounds, fetuses have also been exposed to spontaneous rhythms, enjoyable vibrations and unpleasant sensations.

All of this activity takes place during the prenatal period. Scientific studies have, in effect, proven what many mother innately understood since the dawn of time; a child's development actually begins in the womb. By the time babies are born they have amass an array of familiarities and experiences that are in common with that of their mothers and fathers.

With this being confirmed by anecdotal evidence and various studies, researchers from a wide range of disciplines, including educators, physicians and criminologist have stressed the importance of enhancing the pre-natal environment to stimulate the development of unborn children. The conventional wisdom no longer pegs a child's crucial years of development from 0 to 3 years. There are many valid reasons to believe that the period begins from prenatal to three years of age.

Most researchers in this field seem to agree that white noise shared with a baby before it is born, whether in the form of speaking, reading or singing, improves the baby's aptitude to identify the sounds after birth. The scientific term for this phenomenon is known "auditory tracking." There are even researchers who have concluded that babies understand the conversation that occurs in their environment.
Armed with this knowledge, many parents seek to give their children a competitive edge in life by implementing some type of sound therapy before they are born and continuing through early childhood. They typically use a variety of sounds machines utilizing classical music of composers like Mozart and Beethoven. There are also soothing sounds like the heartbeat of a mother, birds calling, the sound of raindrops and ocean waves washing up against the shoreline. It is believe that these reverberations have a calming effective on babies while they are in-utero.
Observations of newborns have documented that at birth, these babies tend to have their eyes and hands open. They are usually visibly ready to immerse themselves into their settings. Many mothers have even noticed the same white noise, which the babies listened to and responded to while in the womb, are successful in reassuring and consoling the child after it is born. Infants exposed to prenatal sounds, and other curriculum, have shown a tendency to develop healthy sleep patterns and stronger immune systems. They also seem to walk, talk and learn at a higher pace than other children.

The fact is that science has not even scratched the surface on what occurs with our children during the pre-natal development cycle. Evidence is mounting that there are many ways to assist in their development during these formative years when the neuron connectors in their brains are being wired. One thing for sure is that the application of sound therapy and white noise sound machines can have a positive effect on the development of your unborn children. Taking advantage of these techniques can result in above average development in both mind and body for our children.

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Even doctors recommend white noise sound machines such as the Marpac SleepMate 980A Sound Conditioner and the Marpac Marsona 1288A Sound Conditioner for patients who are sufferers of tinnitus or have difficulty sleeping. These patients can be shift workers who have to sleep during the day, new parents contending with a crying baby, or anyone who is easily distracted by outside noise or has difficulty sleeping for any reason. Visit Sound Machines today.

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