16 weeks

Ways To Make Baby Smarter Before Birth?

Is it worth trying to stimulate my baby’s development in utero?

If you think about it, you’re already stimulating baby’s development! What baby needs most now is a safe, healthy environment. So before you worry about doing something outrageous, make sure you have the basics down pat: no smoking. (And it’s best not to hang out around smokers either). No drinking. (Some docs okay the occasional glass of wine, but that’s a highly charged subject. Talk to your OB.) Eat good, healthy foods, including plenty of fruits and veggies. Get rest. And continue to exercise and stay active throughout your pregnancy.

Got that down? Then the next step is to lose the idea that playing classical music for your baby will make her some kind of genius. The so-called Mozart effect — the idea that listening to classical music somehow makes you smarter, has been debunked — although some marketers still try to lure parents in with CDs and other products designed to enhance babies’ IQs.

Researchers have shown, though, the babies can hear outside sounds while in the womb, so if you want to play music to your baby or read to your belly, go ahead and give it a shot. It definitely can’t hurt. Reading or singing to your baby — or playing her your favorite music — can help you feel closer to her, and that’s always a good thing. And who knows? She just might recognize the tune (or story) after birth. “I played a classical CD when I was pregnant with both my children,” says Kelly Kasper, MD. “I swear that when they were fussy after birth and I would play it, they would calm down.”

Plus, more from The Bump:

How often should baby kick?

Your Guide to Prenatal Tests and Doctor Visits

What’s baby doing this week?

By Kelly Kasper, MD, ob-gyn and associate clinical professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine