The Babypod, An Intravaginal Stereo For Your Fetus
When it comes to their child, there is nothing a mother wouldn’t do, including placing a tampon-like speaker system in her vagina. At least that is what Babypod, the company behind the product of the same name, is betting on.
The Science Behind It
“Music has many benefits for the human brain, including acting as a stimulus for learning and it plays an important role in the sphere of social communication. Stimulating babies through music in their first months of life has positive effects on brain development . . .” says Babypod on their website. And they aren’t wrong. Scientists have been interested in the perceptive ability of fetuses as early as the late 1800’s, and since the development of advanced ultrasound equipment there have been many studies on the subject. Hearing is the first sense that is developed in the womb, and these studies show that unborn babies are able to hear what takes place both out of the mother’s body and within. They can hear their mother’s heartbeat and her voice. While outside sound is incredibly muffled by the many protective layers surrounding the womb, the vibrations from the mother’s voice are much clearer by comparison. Studies have shown that fetuses recognize the sound of their mother’s voice from what they hear in utero.
While there is definitive proof that a fetus has fully developed the ability to hear after 16 weeks, and that it can and will recognize and respond to sound, what effect that sound has on the growing child is still uncertain. Many profess that music increases the activity of neurons in the brain, commonly said to increase a child’s intelligence. However, just as many scientists have found these claims unrepeatable in their own studies. And with it unclear as to whether music can truly affect a child’s development, identifying the effect of a specific type of music is even more difficult to determine. That’s right, as far as science is able to prove, there is no difference between playing Mozart for your baby or Lil Wayne.
So what does all this mean for the Babypod? Well the logic is simple enough. If a fetus can hear muffled sound from outside the mother’s body, then he or she could hear much less distorted music if there were less between the baby and the source of the sound. Thus the Babypod. The Babypod is a small intravaginal device that emits sounds at 54 decibels, the equivalent of a soft whisper. After inserting it into the vagina, the expecting mother can listen along with their baby with the eternal auxiliary headphones for her.
Babypod was tested by Institut Marquès and the results of their clinical study are available on Babypod’s website. Mother’s wombs were scanned while playing music for their child. When music was played from within the vagina, 87% fetuses responded with mouth and tongue movements similar to those made by young babies trying to emit sound when learning to talk. When music was played externally near the abdomen, no such movement was seen. Babypod claims this will boost the development of communication skills once the child is born. Babypod assures its customers that it totally safe for both the mother and child. The first one hundred babies who used Babypod have been born, and all testing of their hearing has come back normal.
What does this mean for your baby?
There is overwhelming data to prove that fetuses can hear the world around them while still in the womb. The effect that these sounds could have isn’t as clear. However, for those who believe that music will aid the development of their child, then the Babypod offers a way to deliver that music with much greater clarity than any external sound. If what Babypod believes turns out to be true, your child will be one step closer to communicating with the world around them.
Even if playing music for you child does not improve their future intelligence, the Babypod offers a new way for mothers to share in the experience of their child. In the end, rather than any definite developmental benefit, perhaps bonding with your child before they are even born is what matters most.