A new device called a “Babypod tampon speaker” that plays music directly to unborn babies is based on research that has found babies as early as 16 weeks of gestational development are able to hear music in utero which can, in turn, stimulate neurons in the fetus’ brainstem and help babies learn to communicate while still inside the womb.
Researchers from the Institut Marquès say intravaginal music led to actual physical responses from babies, while abdominally introduced music had no effect, reports The Daily Mail. The study suggests that unborn babies as young as 16 weeks into development may be able to hone their communication skills even at this early stage in a pregnancy.
The report states:
Researchers led by Dr. Marisa Lopez-Teijon, observed the reactions of the babies using ultrasound on pregnant women between the 14th and 39th week of pregnancy, and found that the babies showed early attempts at vocalization.
According to Lopez-Teijon, the fetuses responded to music transmitted intravaginally by moving their mouth and tongue, ‘as if they were trying to speak or sing.’
The researchers say the device could also help to diagnose prenatal deafness in babies if the fetus shows no response to the music.
The Babypod is used by inserting its bulb-like silicone speaker into the vagina and then connecting it to the headphone jack of a smartphone. The mother can listen to the music simultaneously by plugging headphones into the audio input on the connector. Since the vagina is an enclosed area, the music must only travel between the baby and vaginal and uterine walls, instead of through the abdominal wall.
The speaker emits sound at 54 decibels – similar to hushed talking. It contains no battery, Bluetooth, or radiofrequency, and the sound has no ability to exceed its intensity – a safety feature for both baby and mother.