MUSIC AND PREGNANCY
Your body is your instrument. Let’s find it’s harmony
Is there a more beautiful gift than the gift of life?
Music and Pregnancy is a class all about building a profound bond between yourself and your baby. Perhaps, you are feeling stressed or anxious about your pregnancy or simply looking to connect to yourself and your baby. Your child is listening and learning even before they’re born.
We think about your body and the pressure it is under so our classes help you to relax and release that tension through music. We think about your child and look to develop that special bond through the musicality of your voice and your movements.
This class is aimed for women or couples (parents-to-be or new parents with babies up to 4-month-old) who want to establish a profound connection with their own body through music, rhythm and musicality, to create a deep, positive connection with their child.
Free movement and singing defined as ‘body meditation’: this class will help you relax, soothe, condition your body, and create a unique way to communicate with your child.
Benefits of Music during Pregnancy
How singing and listening to music can help your child?
Prenatal studies show that at the beginning of the second month of pregnancy, a foetus’ eyes,
nose, and ears are clearly visible, and by the fifth month, the baby’s hearing has fully developed.
This has lead to further research regarding the baby’s ability to recognise music and the various benefits that music can have on the unborn child and the mother.
Music reduces pregnancy stress levels
Music has been seen to reduce high stress levels that many pregnant women experience during
their pregnancy. A study of 236 pregnant women conducted by researchers at the College of
Nursing at Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan, showed that the participants who listened to
music for 30 minutes per day for two weeks significantly reduced their stress, anxiety, and
depression, when compared with participants who did not. This study, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing, was conducted on participants who were all in either their second or third trimesters. Half of the participants were given music CDs and asked to listen to them for a half an hour per day. The choice of the music was left to the participants and most of them chose nature sounds or lullabies. The other half were not given any CDs. Both groups received equal routine prenatal care. The research showed that women in the music group saw a significant drop in stress, anxiety, and depression scores, while those in the control group had a minor drop in stress.
“Pregnancy is a unique and stressful period for many expectant mothers and they suffer anxiety and depression because of the long time period involved,” says author of the study Chung-Hey Chen, who is now based at the National Cheng Kung University. “Any intervention that reduces these problems is to be welcomed. Our study shows that listening to suitable music provides a simple, cost-effective and non-invasive way of reducing stress, anxiety and depression during
Music helps strengthen the bond with your unborn child
Recent scientific research into the effects of prenatal music stimulation shows that music
provides an excellent way for the mother to bond with her unborn child. Prenatal stimulation is a concept that uses stimuli such as sounds (either a mother’s voice or musical ones) along with movement, pressure, vibrations, and light to communicate with a developing baby prior to birth. While both music and singing can be used to strengthen the bond with your child, Dr. Michel Odent, M.D., believes that women have a profound need to sing to their babies. Singing to your unborn child is extremely beneficial since the singing voice has a richer frequency range than speech. Frequency is the level of pitch measured in Hertz (Hz.) and varies between 16 to 20,000 Hz. A mother’s voice is more clearly heard by the fetus, as there is very little distortion when compared to other external voices, especially in the higher frequencies.
Music helps in fetal brain development
Research on the effect of music on brain development is in its infancy and experts can’t seem to
agree on whether music is enjoyable or bothersome to foetuses. While there are many studies
indicating that fetuses can hear and react to sound by moving, no one really knows what those
movements mean and whether they help in fetal brain development. Gordon Shaw, a
neuroscientist at the University of California at Irvine explains that since experts can’t observe an unborn baby as easily as one could observe someone who is out of the womb, the baby’s
reaction cannot be accurately assessed. California obstetrician Rene Van de Carr, author of the book While You’re Expecting…Your
Own Prenatal Classroom, observed a 33-week-old fetus pattern his breathing to the beat of
Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. His theory is that the fetus followed the rhythm of the symphony,
only because the child in the womb understood and learned something about the rhythm and
enjoyed it. But Janet DiPietro, a developmental psychologist who studies fetal development at
Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland says these conclusions are purely anecdotal,
and aren’t based on true research. Yet she observes that music helps in relaxation and “When a
woman relaxes, that’s good for the fetus and that’s an indirect effect of music on the fetus.”
What is the best way to use music in pregnancy?
Since most of the research on the benefits of music in pregnancy is still in its infancy, it is better
to exert caution when playing music to your unborn child. Here are a few general points that
experts recommend when using music during pregnancy.
- Practice music therapy in moderation: Like all good things in life, music therapy too should be practiced in moderation. Don’t listen to music just because it is good for your baby. Listen to your feelings instead. If you feel relaxed when listening to music or singing, chances are that your baby will feel the same too.
- Be careful about the volume you choose: A popular misconception is that a baby inside a womb cannot hear music unless it’s turned on loud. However, sound is easily conducted via the amniotic fluid and thus the volume chosen should be low, no higher than 70 decibels.
- It is alsoadvisable not to place headphones or a speaker directly on your abdomen.
- Avoid music that is loud, chaotic or disturbing: the choice of music played also matters. Dr Rosalie Pratt, Professor of Music Medicine at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah points out to certain animal studies that show how constant exposure to chaotic, discordant music negatively alters the brain’s structure. A good choice, according to Dr Pratt, would be Classical music (especially Mozart’s symphonies), or any kind of soft, melodious music of your liking other than rap, grunge, or hard rock songs.
Did you know that pregnant women who listen to music experience reduced levels of stress,
anxiety and depression?
Valeria is a singer, actress and musician, 2018 Royal Academy of Music graduate,
originally from Italy, but now based in London.
Her background is in classical piano, conducting and opera, having studied in Italy
with Lucia Mazzaria and Gabriele Monici, and later performed in operas and
operettas under the direction of, among others, Enzo Dara.
Alongside the classical, she also has a background in jazz singing (with Lorena
Fontana). She then moved to London when she got offered a place on the musical
theatre course at the Royal Academy of Music. Since then, she has been playing
the role of Maria (West Side Story) at the Barbican centre with BBC Concert
Orchestra and Crouch End Festival Chorus, she has also been singing with the a
cappella group Joe Public, winner of the Audience Choice Award at the Moscow A
Cappella Festival 2019, and singing for TV and Film soundtracks (Made in Chelsea,
channel 4; Bunuel’s Labyrinth, Abbey Road Studios; VOCE, NFTS and Channel 4…)
Her experience in music is very diverse, as she’s been performing since the age of
15 in various roles, from opera, to choirs, to musical theatre, and recordings. She
is also very passionate about helping others through music, for example she has
been volunteering as a music consultant and voice teacher at a health centre, in
particular collaborating with a speech therapist to help autistic children find their
voice. She remembers that experience as one of the most rewarding of her
life. This experience prompted her to start a second Masters degree, in Music
Psychology, to explore the neuro-aesthestics of music and music cognition to be
able to share the benefits, not only the beauty, of music with others.
Valeria was also mentored by Olga Masleinnikova, one of the students of Laban
Technique, and her teaching helped her develop a consciousness of the body as
our instrument that lead to the creation of a workshop project she has been
delivering in London, and in Italy. The workshop is a body meditation technique
based on some of Laban’s principles, that helps the participant focus on various
components of their body and find the musicality within themselves. Non-
choreographed, free, movements that help the participants make a deeper
connection with their own bodies though music and rhythm.
Valeria is eager to perform and share with others the beauty of music.