Make Your Fetus Happy? Watch 'The Sound of Music'

Filed under: In The News


Hey, pregnant women: Want to make that baby in your belly bounce with joy? Cue the Julie Andrews DVD.

You see, researchers at Nagazaki University in Japan have found feelings of happiness or sadness can be passed from a mother to her fetus, and they used a clip from "The Sound of Music" to prove it.

The study involved showing 10 pregnant volunteers a happy five-minute clip from the classic musical, while 14 other pregnant women were shown a tear-jerking five minutes from "The Champ," New Scientist magazine reports.

"The women listened to the films through headphones to ensure that only the effect of their emotions, not the sounds, were being measured," the magazine reports, adding that fetuses can hear by the third trimester.
Two "neutral" samples were presented before and after each clip so researchers could measure any changes in fetal movements against a baseline, New Scientist says.

Counting the number of leg, arm and whole body movements using ultrasound, researchers found that fetuses moved their arms significantly more while watching the happy clip than the neutral clip. "Meanwhile, the fetuses of sad women moved their arms less," the magazine reports.

It's not clear why "The Sound of Music" fetuses were happy, the researchers say, but Alexander Heazell, a researcher at the University of Manchester in England, tells New Scientist the study offers insight into how external influences affect fetuses.

But, really, did you need an excuse to listen to "My Favorite Things?"

Related: Stressful Events During Pregnancy Linked to Higher Allergy Risk

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.