Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction in the medical device world. Spanish company Babypod has recently announced the availability of an intravaginal speaker system for developing fetuses. There has recently been increasing interest in the effects of exposing fetuses to music and other sounds during pregnancy. A study in the International Neurourology Journal from 2013 showed that rats exposed to music in utero had increased neurogenesis in their somatosensory and motor cortices. In the same year in PLoS One, a team from The University of Helsinki studied a group of pregnant mothers who exposed their fetuses to “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in utero compared to a control group did not. The babies then underwent EEG analysis as newborns and at 4 months of life. The babies who had been exposed to music during the pregnancy period had a greater response to each note as newborns and at the 4 months point compared to the control group.
Ultimately this line of thinking led to the development of “pregnancy music belts,” which are effective speakers that strap onto the abdomen of pregnant women. How well do these belts work? According to research from 2015 in the Journal of Perinatal Medicine: Not very well. They took three different pregnancy music belts and analyzed their sound characteristics through a porcine uterus and abdominal wall. Sound pressure levels were barely detectable, and high and low frequencies were severely attenuated.
So with the above knowledge, the team at Babypod tried to find a way to improve the speaker to fetus relationship. Enter the Babypod device. The company believes that through the vagina sound experiences less attenuation before it reaches the fetal auditory system, thus leading to increased theoretical benefits from fetal sound/music exposure. Their concept isn’t completely out of left field, as a recent paper in Ultrasound showed that fetuses had increased facial response to music via transvaginal exposure when compared with transabdominal. Furthermore, they saw response to music as early as 16 weeks of gestation.
To hammer the point home the company launched their product at a live concert featuring artist Soraya singing Christmas carols for ten pregnant women whose fetuses “listened” via the Babypod system. In addition, live ultrasound of the fetuses were captured during the event.
The creative speaker system retails for $133.
Product page: Babypod…