7 Benefits of Singing in Pregnancy
Lately I’ve been singing to the little cantaloupe growing in my belly. There are so many benefits of prenatal singing for both you and your baby, I had to share some of the info. While I've stayed away from putting headphones on my stomach (amniotic fluid is a big conductor of sound. Think of Charlie Brown from the Peanuts’ teacher talking to you through a muffled megaphone, REALLY LOUD) and only every once in a while throw on Mozart, I do like to use my natural voice or even play with a ukulele.
Taking some time each day to sing, hum or strum a few songs not only connects us, but it makes me feel clear and present, ready to take on the day:
1. YOUR BABY REMEMBERS MUSIC AND VOICES IN UTERO
Our hearing is one the most developed senses in the womb. In the second trimester we start to listen and actually memorize words, sounds, and songs. As early as 18 weeks we can hear vibrations, and by 23 weeks our ears are developed. Check out this quirky yet fascinating video (gotta love Penny Simkin!) of babies calming down to the same song they heard in utero.
2. SINGING HELPS WITH SPEECH DEVELOPMENT
Our singing voices are naturally richer in frequency than our speaking voices. In linguistics, studies have shown that early speech was actually song, and that song is even an older form of communication.
3. A REPETITIVE MELODY IS CALMING FOR YOU AND YOUR BABY Lullabies are one of the earliest forms of folk song tradition. The simple melody is easy for a baby to remember, it can also act as a little mantra for you to calm down as pregnant mom. There have been times that I've been anxious, nervous, or too excited- singing "Hush Little Baby" calms me down immediately because I know it's soothing for my baby and connecting us.
4. THE HEALTH BENEFITS!
Singing gets oxygen flowing through your body, it raises endorphins and helps you sleep, opens up your sinuses and respiratory passages, allowing endorphins to move through the placenta. What else? Singing and music "has a definitive effect on blood pressure, heart rate respiration and lowers our anxiety. It also quiets the mind," says Dr. Deforia Lane on Music and the Brain podcast. That can only be good for the little passenger on board.
5. SINGING ENGAGES YOUR THROAT CHAKRA
Being a first-time mom, pregnant in a foreign country and going through the process in a different language, I've had to advocate for myself in different ways. It has been exciting, scary, and new. Engaging your voice by singing opens you up to speak more confidently about what you need for you and your baby.
6. A GREAT WAY TO CONNECT
The first time I felt my baby kick was when I was African singing with a group of German women. True. The vibe was very Sound of Music-meets-Ladysmith Black Mambazo but she must have liked it because I felt something like a butterfly tickling my stomach. I was singing these simple, melodic songs over and over, and she must have felt the vibration. Wunderschön!
7. IT CARRIES FORWARD
A song is something you can carry with you always. Passing it on to your kids is one of the greatest gifts and some of the best memories I have with my own mom. I've been singing James Taylor, Paul Simon, Peter Paul and Mary. Now that I think of it, these are the songs my mom sang to me when I was a baby.
Umm.. but I can't sing! Yes you can. Everyone can sing. Take a look at these easy and silly vocal warmups you can do in the morning to help get everything moving.
If you want to ease in, just start with simple ooohs, ahhhs, or even just repeating, “ommm”. Sing a lullaby, they are repetitive and easy for the baby to remember (you don't need to learn the ukulele to sing them!)
And while you should probably stay away from ACDC reunion tours or Vin Diesel films, at the end of the day, what you enjoy, your baby will enjoy, too.
Was this helpful? For the already- parents, did you sing during pregnancy? If so, I'd love to know your experience. Leave it in the comments below! If you're up for learning an instrument, check out all the great (and easy) stuff you can do with the ukulele.