- REUTERS/Carlos Barria
- The creators of Babypod, a small tampon-shaped speaker, say that putting the product in your vagina during pregnancy can help your unborn baby better hear music.
- During pregnancy, the womb protects the fetus from outside environmental factors, including sound.
- According to Dr. Donnica Moore, a gynecologist, there’s a reason a baby is protected during pregnancy and can’t hear sounds the same way we do.
- Anything you want to put in your vagina during pregnancy should be cleared by your doctor first, she said.
- Visit INSIDER.com for more stories.
A company called Music In Baby says its Babypod device, which it sells for $150, is designed to help unborn babies “perceive sounds like we do” since it’s placed in the vagina, where tissue and material from the womb normally prevent fetuses from hearing sounds as humans do.
It’s true that babies hear sound differently from inside the womb, but research has not found that unborn babies benefit from hearing sounds, like music, the way we do.
“We don’t know if there is a sound or decibel level too high for a fetus. Maybe there’s a reason our bodies don’t come equipped with vaginal speakers,” Dr. Donnica Moore, a gynecologist, told INSIDER.
Gracias al móvil podemos comunicarnos, tomar fotos, informarnos…Y ahora también, las embarazadas, pueden hablarle y ponerle música a su bebé, tan solo conectándole Babypod #MWC2019 #MusicIsLife #Babypodhttps://t.co/lruK9jwwkX pic.twitter.com/t2kyKDJKBF
— Babypod (@_Babypod) February 25, 2019
The device is inserted into the vagina with the audio-cord side facing down and coming out of the vagina. Then the pregnant person is supposed to attach the cord to a smartphone to play the music. A second audio port connects to headphones if the person wants to listen along.
When the person is done with the device, they “pull gently on the connection cord” to remove it from the vagina, similar to removing a tampon, the company said.
It said the device could be used for 10 to 20 minutes twice a day starting in the 16th week of pregnancy.
There is no proof that babies benefit from hearing music before they’re born
The company told INSIDER that a clinical trial of over 1,000 patients found that the device was safe for fetuses.
“The intensity of the sound that Babypod emits is similar to a conversation in low tone and has a control system so that it does not exceed this level, which can not damage the fetal ear,” it said in an email.
But there is limited research on the benefits of music in utero, and the study the company cited was conducted by its own team of researchers.
The company said in a statement to INSIDER that the device was originally developed for researchers to study fetal hearing and was previously used in a study of how 300 fetuses reacted to different music genres.
Researchers found that with some types of music, fetuses stuck out their tongues or moved their mouths, which they hypothesized was a sign their brains were being stimulated. They couldn’t prove this conclusively.
Another small independent study found that playing music for babies after they’re born could help improve brain function.
No research has concluded whether playing music before birth has any added health benefits besides helping the parents relax and feel more connected to their baby in the womb.
Babypod is FDA-approved, but it’s not right for everyone
Documents that Music In Baby provided show that the Food and Drug Administration approved Babypod as general welfare product, though the FDA doesn’t put those products through the same rigorous testing as other kinds of medical devices.
For this reason, Moore said she had concerns about Babypod. She said a person could experience cervical irritation or preterm labor if they put foreign objects in their vagina during pregnancy.
The company told INSIDER that people with certain conditions, including dilation of the cervix or vaginal or urinary tract infections, shouldn’t try the device.
Moore said she worried that Babypod was being marketed toward pregnant people who would do just about anything to ensure their babies are healthy, and she suggested proceeding with caution.
“Anything that you may want to insert in your vagina during pregnancy should be cleared by your doctor first,” she said.