Just when you thought they’d come up with every parenting device imaginable, one Spanish company has managed to venture into previously uncharted territory.
The Babypod, a gadget that the markers say stimulates vocalisation in babies before they are even born by playing music to fetuses from inside a pregnant woman’s vagina.
The small intravaginal device – fully washable, of course – is a silicone covered speaker designed to feed music directly to an unborn baby without the interference of the abdominal wall.
Inside the vagina, the music is only muffled by a few layers of soft tissue, meaning that it is heard with far greater clarity than when a woman places headphones or a speaker on her bump.
Research carried out by the Institut Marquès on the effects of music during infancy found that it can have a positive effect on brain development.
The study, published in the journal of the British Medical Ultrasound Society (BMUS), looked at 3D/4D ultrasound scan of women between 14 and 39 weeks gestation. The results shown that when listening to music most of the babies from 16 weeks gestation responded with body, mouth or tongue movements.
The researchers theorised that this response may demonstrate how music can stimulate the brain circuits responsible for language and communication.
This could mean that intravaginal music could be used to stimulate language learning earlier than ever before – taking competitive parenting to a whole new level.
As well as stimulating early learning, the device could also have useful medical applications.
“In line with studies that suggest that music might have beneficial effects on the fetus, such stimulation could be used as a method for fostering fetal well-being, with the guarantee that the fetus hears it,” the lead authors wrote in the article.
“It could also be used to evoke arousal responses of the fetus, and stimulate movements to facilitate and shorten obstetric ultrasound examinations.”
The Babypod, which retails for £90.85, has been labelled safe by an ethics committee since it conducts only vibrating sound waves rather than radiofrequencies. This put it on par with safe use of vibrating sex toys.
Of the 100 unborn babies who have already used the device, all of them were found to have normal inner ear emissions at birth.
The makers do warn, however, that the device shouldn’t be used by women who:
- Are experiencing contractions or dilation of the cervix
- Have a high risk pregnancy
- Have had repeated or active vaginal or urinary infections
Not convinced? Maybe you’ll enjoy this video of “the first concert for fetuses ever held in the world,” played directly through the Babypod.