Why is Indian classical music beneficial for pregnant women?
70%-80% of pregnant women experience either prolonged depression or periodic phases of anxiety. The vibrations of music have the power to calm the mind.
Hearing is a very critical sense we possess as humans. Definitely, vision is equally important and often, the way things are organized are based on visual cues. But, sound has properties that are often more powerful than vision.
The beat, meter and rhythm in any music has its own unique language. It has a natural effect on human beings, like making them tap their fingers or feet to it!
In the same way, music regulates emotions by creating profound effects on the brain, including influencing perception and thinking.
Unborn babies benefit from music, too!
According to research, classical music triggered the greatest level of foetal reaction (tongue and mouth movement) at 84%!
Indian Classical music dates back to sacred Vedic scriptures over 6,000 years ago where chants developed a system of musical notes and rhythmic cycles.
As it developed it remained very closely connected to nature, taking inspiration from seasons and times of the day to create ‘ragas’ or musical moods and many time cycles or ‘taals’ that have been further codified. It remained close to each part of the day as a human experiences it.
When a singer or a player of an instrument composes a classical music piece, he or she works within a structure but with a lot of freedom. Compositions are fixed but most of the music is improvised within the structure of notes and mathematics. This gives the music a spontaneous freedom where each artist and every performance is ensured to be completely unique.
The combination of freedom within a structure makes classical music so engaging and attractive to the human ear. The mind gets hooked like an insect in a spider’s web. And, it has good results!
Do different Indian ragas have different benefits?
Yes, if listened to consistently, preferably everyday. If combined with mindfulness and scanning your body as you do so, it is very beneficial,
Regular exposure to a specific raga under particular conditions has clearly identified effects. While Nilambari raaga can induce sleep, ragas Bhupala and Malayamarutam when played before dawn serve as a pleasing invitation for people to get up from sleep. Bilahari, a joy-producing raga helps to alleviate melancholic mood and Sama raga can reduce anxiety.
While lamps may not have lit up on their own when Tansen sang Raag Deepak - the raag of fire, it must have created that feeling so authentically, that till today, we talk about it. That is the power of Indian classical music.
When a pregnant woman is listening to classical music in the third trimester, the baby can hear it and his brain gets a boost. It makes his motor memory much more powerful. Like when elastic is stretched, the brain starts stretching and building new circuits. The brain also feels a sense of reward when the same raaga is played everyday!
5 Classical Ragas for Proven Pregnancy Benefits
Raga Komal Asavari
This raga fights psychological disorders, helping the mum to cope with stress and fear during the last trimester. It also builds confidence which affects the centre of Intelligence in your baby’s brain, making them stronger and more confident. In short, raga Komal Asavari helps to raise the intelligence quotient (IQ) of your unborn baby.
This is a playful raga full of loving sentiments which helps you create the best possible bond with your child. It allows love and compassion to flow in the mum's body, and acts on the centre of joy and happiness in the baby's brain, giving birth to a loving and kind child.
This raga heals the mind with positive reverberations, and rejuvenates the body, keeping it up-to-date with the daily changes. It will relax your systems and ensure they work more efficiently for the growth and development of your child.
This raga maintains the heart's health, allowing it to pump more blood which is required for the growth of your unborn baby. Music is the ‘naad’ — the sound which connects humans to the ‘brahma’ — the cosmos. Your womb is the cosmos of your child, so music helps them in connecting with you on a much deeper level.
This raga reduces stress and provides serenity. It keeps your mind calm, and reduces the impact of altered hormonal levels which will gradually help the mum to handle the symptoms more efficiently.
How does an unborn baby’s brain respond to music?
Neuroplasticity and Neurodevelopment is what sums it up! The unborn baby’s brain is developing and hence, can be moulded (“neuroplasticity”). Listening and experiencing music stimulates his or her brain and assists with the growth of brain structures.
Listening to the specialized rhythmic music encourages early brain development in the unborn baby because music facilitates neuron connections in the brain.
Babies exposed to instrumental music become advanced in terms of motor skills and linguistic and intellectual development. Babies are born with 100 billion loosely connected nerve cells in their bodies - string instruments like sitar, guitar, veena help establish and strengthen the intercellular connections in the brain.
Music has healing capabilities, and a soothing effect on our emotions as it helps us de-stress, relax and change our mood for better so any day of the pregnancy you got to know about the good news is the good day to start listening to music.
When you listen to calming music on the iMumz App, your anxiety and stress melt away and it helps you to bond with your unborn baby. Good hormones rush through your placenta and make the baby happy even when the baby cannot hear the music that you are listening to.
Babies begin detecting limited noises around week 16 of pregnancy. At about 24 weeks, your baby's outer, middle and inner ear — including the cochlea, the snail-shell-shaped tube in the inner ear where vibrations are converted into the nerve impulses we perceive as sound — are well-developed, and baby's ear is mature enough that he will likely turn his head in response to voices and noises.
Unborn babies are conditioned to music perception while still in the womb by the observed intense physiological music responses of the mothers. From 28 weeks, i.e. at the start of the third trimester of pregnancy, the heart rate of the baby already changes when it hears a familiar song. From 35 weeks, there is even a change in its movement patterns. After birth, this music remains in his memory and helps you to soothe him when he is cranky.
What kind of music can harm an unborn baby?
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health advises that pregnant women avoid routine exposure to noise louder than 115 decibels. Studies indicate that regularly experiencing that level of noise raises the odds of a baby suffering some hearing loss, especially at higher frequencies. Repeated exposure to very loud noise can also increase the risk of premature delivery and low-birth-weight babies.