This would have been great advice for me when I was still pregnant with Gareth, but just because I’ve missed that boat doesn’t mean I can’t share it with other pregnant mothers who might be interested to know what they can do for their babies while they are in the womb.
Prenatal Right Brain Education
Currently, as far as I am aware, the only right brain school offering prenatal classes is Heguru. I don’t know of anyone who has attended those classes though. Neither do I know what they do in those classes.
If you want to practice prenatal right brain education, the fundamental principle is to communicate love to your baby. Here’s an excerpt from Quantum Speed Reading by Yumiko Tobitani talking about the importance of prenatal education:
The fetus grows inside amniotic fluid that is like sweet and sour seawater. In this fluid, the fetus sucks its fingers, yawns, and sloshes about. The normal pH of amniotic fluid is about 7.8. But the pH can change. For example, if the mother decides to go shopping and forgets her purse, the ensuing tension is enough to drop the pH to 5 in a couple of seconds. A marital quarrel and its emotional energy are enough to drop the level down to 3 in a flash. These pH level decreases mean that there is more acidity in the amniotic fluid. The baby in the womb is happily sucking on a finger and suddenly the taste becomes sour. The amniotic fluid ceases to be a relaxing environment comfortable to the baby, and so its body stiffens up.
At the same time, the baby hears the sounds of mother’s beating heart, the pulsing sound of her blood flowing, her bones squeaking and creaking – all as a kind of background music. However, when the mother gets emotional, her beating heart speeds up, as does her blood circulation. The creaking of the bones gets harsher. Amidst this noise pollution and acidic amniotic fluid is no place for a mind to develop. This is the reason why prenatal education is so important.
What Can You Do?
Talk to your baby. Fathers, too. For instance, when Dad is heading off to work, he can face Mum’s belly and say, “Ok, I’m off to the office now!”
The Mozart Effect
While we’re on the topic of prenatal education, I think we need to address the topic of The Mozart Effect. I think most of us who have done any reading on prenatal education will probably have come across The Mozart Effect. If you haven’t, it is essentially this: play Mozart for your baby and it will increase his IQ. And if you’ve done your research thoroughly, you would also have read that The Mozart Effect has been debunked. That said, playing music while your baby is in the womb still has its benefits…
Babies recognise musical pieces that they have heard before while they were in the womb. In fact, it has been found that babies listening to music they heard while they were in the womb tend to calm down more easily because they are soothed by the familiar music.
Here’s another example of the effect of playing music while your baby is still in your womb… It is an excerpt from Brain Rules for Baby by John Medina:
But once babies can perceive inputs like sounds and smells, starting around the second half of the pregnancy, they become precisely attuned to them. And they subconsciously remember. Sometimes it’s spooky, as legendary conductor Boris Brott discovered one day.
“It just jumped out at me!” Brott exclaimed to his mother. Brott had been at the podium of a symphony orchestra, conducting a piece of music for the first time, when the cellist began to play. He instantly knew he’d heard this piece before. This was no casual reminder of some similar but forgotten work: Brott could predict exactly what musical phrase was coming next. He could anticipate the flow of the entire work during the course of the rehearsal; he knew how to conduct it even when he lost his place in the score.
Freaking out, he called his mother, a professional cellist. She asked for the name of the piece of music, then burst out laughing. It was the piece she had been rehearsing when she was pregnant with him. The cello was up against her late-pregnancy mid-abdomen, a structure filled with sound conducting fluids, fully capable of relaying musical information to her unborn son. His developing brain was sensitive enough to record the musical memories. “All the scores I knew by sight were the ones she had played while she was pregnant with me”, Brott later said in an interview.
Babies do remember and it isn’t just the vague memory of something familiar. Even more amazing than this is Tobitani’s example of one child’s revelation to his parents one evening as he was beginning to grow sleepy and his brain began to shift to alpha wave patterns:
It was such a time that a child from one family said, “Mum, I remember talking to Dad when I was inside your tummy. I saw him from inside. And I saw two chimneys.” Because the family had moved just before this child was born, there was no way he could have seen the chimneys after birth. From the apartment where the family lived while he was in the womb, two chimneys could indeed be seen. When his mother asked how he knew about those chimneys, he replied, “Because I saw them from inside your tummy!”
When Should You Start?
According to John Medina, it is only in the second half of pregnancy that babies begin to perceive stimuli from the external world so somewhere around the fifth month is a good time to start. However, regarding right brain prenatal education, it’s never too early to start doing what you can to keep the womb environment as stress-free as possible. In other words, Mum needs to take care of herself and keep the stress levels as low as possible.