Many believe that exposing children to music helps them develop higher cognitive functioning. Some go so far as to suggest that playing music for baby while she is still in the womb will help her to become more intelligent.

There really aren’t any studies that bear this out, though it is known that babies do hear what is going on outside the womb beginning around the fifth month of pregnancy. It is also known that babies react to outside noises. Babies have been found to move around when music is played for them in a manner somewhat similar to dancing.

Fairly definitive studies have been run relating Classical music to cognitive ability. And it has been demonstrated, fairly clearly, that playing Classical music has a positive effect on one’s reasoning ability, at least in the short term. Unfortunately, the test was run on college students listening to Mozart, though, so it really isn’t clear whether putting earphones on your tummy and playing music will help her become more intelligent or not.

Still, music is widely known to have an emotional effect on people of all ages. Play something upbeat, and we all want to move our feet. Play something soft and soothing, and we relax. It is believed that baby has the same reactions to music while in the womb. Some kinds of music may make her want to move around, and other kinds of music may have the opposite effect.

At the very least, playing music for baby won’t do her any harm. Early exposure to music is good for kids, so why not start them out before they’re born? The more different things babies hear from inside the womb, the better. So, go ahead, put the earphones on your tummy and let back rock out, or soothe her to sleep. In any case, take note of baby’s reactions and enjoy them.

Some expectant mothers claim their babies move around more when they play music, others report that baby stops moving when music is played. Either reaction (or no reaction at all) is fine, and neither is anything to worry about. Of course, you’ll want to make sure any music you play for baby is at a fairly low volume. After all, you don’t want her rocking out too much in there. And, if you don’t mind a suggestion, skip the Mozart and go straight for Brahms and Bach.