Hearing is the first sense developed in the embryo and the foetus can hear noises and sounds. Now thanks to an intravaginal device, pregnant women might be able to get their unborn children to vocalise the sound of music as well.
Babypod is a 'musical tampon', designed to be inserted into the vagina by expecting mothers to simulate foetal development. Developed by the eponymous Spanish company Babypod, they contest, along with research carried out by Institut Marquès – a Barcelona-based medical institution specialising in gynecology and assisted reproduction – that playing music to an unborn foetus can have a positive impact in their development.
The Babypod website states:
"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; if this is so, why not give your baby the benefits of music starting before birth?"
If this is so, why not just put headphones on the womb? Not so, according to Babypod.
"The only way the music can really reach the baby is vaginally. With Babypod, sounds reach the baby without distortion, almost as intense and clear as when emitted, as the number of layers that separate the baby from the sound target is lower," they state on their website, providing these two images as evidence.
What comes with the device?
The device, retailing at £90.96 (€149.95, $133,36), is little more than a jack connected to a silicone speaker, 'which does not irritate the skin and is hypoallergenic' that you can connect to any smartphone or mp3 player.
It does come with another pair of headphones so you can listen to the same music at the same time but it does not come with a private baby scan that would allow you to see if your baby is actually grooving along or not. The device does come with a case and small bag to carry it wherever you want.
The sound intensity is 54 decibels, which would be similar to a conversation in a hushed tone. The Babypod also features a control system in order not to exceed this level. The device can be used after the 16th week of pregnancy.
What to expect?
If you use it at home, you will be able to feel, in most of cases, the baby moving. Where the device is apparently, different according to the testimonials on the Babypod website, is that the baby will also move its mouth and even tongue, demonstrating signs of vocalisation in the womb. But it would not be possible to tell if this is occurring without a baby scan taking place.
So, while it is not certain your newborn will be able to get a shot at The X Factor just after birth, at least the company claims there is no chance of the speaker damaging the foetus. Institut Marquès says that the first 100 children using Babypod were born with their otoacoustic emission, the sound which is generated from within the inner ear, normal. Which means that those purchasing the Babypod can treat their unborn children to as much Skrillex or Rammstein as they like whilst they reside in the womb.