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Kelly Kasper, MD

Ways To Make Baby Smarter Before Birth

Are there ways to boost baby's development while in utero? Check out these smart tips.

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 doctors 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 will make baby 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 products designed to enhance babies’ IQs.

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

Plus, more from The Bump:

How often should baby kick?

Your guide to prenatal tests and doctor visits

Playing music to baby in utero