Studies have suggested that playing classical music for babies may stimulate brain activity, but it's really a personal choice.

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Q. Should I play Mozart for my baby?

A. Some child development experts believe that playing classical music to your baby before he is born will stimulate your baby, boost his IQ, enhance his creativity later in life, and improve his ability to speak, see, and hear. Advocates recommend playing music to your baby anytime after the 4th month of pregnancy because it can stimulate the development of complex neural pathways that allow the brain to process information.

Will Mozart really make your baby smarter and more creative? Maybe. In animal studies, rats who listened to Mozart before and after birth were able to find their way to the end of a maze more quickly than those that didn't. Human studies have found that babies' heart rates increase and they stay awake longer when music is played before birth. If you think classical music will give your baby an intellectual boost, and if you enjoy it, go ahead and listen. If you can't stand Mozart or you don't have time to play music for the baby, that's fine. If classical music does make a difference in a baby's IQ, it's probably a very slight difference.

Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

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