Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Doctors Warn Against the Womb Box

Grabbing a microphone, the couple take turns speaking to their fetus about their plans to decorate the nursery.

“It’s fun and exciting to think that by using this [high-tech device] that our baby can actually hear us,” says Savage, 34. “Obviously we know the baby can’t understand us, but it makes us feel like we’re getting a jump-start on the bonding process. Without a sound system, our words might be muffled.”

The Savages are among a growing number of New York parents hoping to build a stronger auditory connection with their unborn babies. A new wave of “womb boxes” — devices that amplify noises in the uterus — has recently flooded the market, including the Ritmo Advanced Pregnancy Sound System ($129.99), which launched two months ago. The Ritmo, a Velcro belt with speakers for an MP3 player, attaches to a mother’s waist and allows her to shop, clean, even dance while her kid listens to the latest Top 40.


But doctors are now warning against the potential hazards of a mother turning her womb into a boom-boom room. “This could be a hindrance to a baby’s sleep cycle,” says Dr. David Cabbad, a pediatrician at the Brooklyn Hospital Center.


In fact, the womb is actually a loud, chaotic environment that doesn’t need additional noise, doctors say. And because fetuses are asleep 90 percent of the time, sudden bursts of music could wake them up and potentially disturb their development.


Somebody should do some research on that. If the unborn can listen and absorb music, it would help further the idea that they are human, too.