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Hey moms-to-be, how about stimulating your unborn's brain with a musical tampon?

Babypod is inserted vaginally and plays music to your unborn baby. Creators say it's the only way babies can hear music. But is it dangerous?

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  • Parenting
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Sonja Haller, USA TODAY Published 7:50 p.m. ET Feb. 3, 2019

"Life affords no greater responsibility, no greater privilege, than the raising of the next generation."- C. Everett Koop

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Moms-to-be have heard that exposing their unborn babies to music in the womb can do wonders.

They've strapped headphones around their bellies for decades hoping their developing babies get the best start. The research on this is iffy at best, but it may be enjoyable to the fetus and to the pregnant woman who could use the respite to put her feet up.

But the maker of Babypod informs us that moms-to-be are doing it all wrong.

"The only way the music can really reach the baby is vaginally," the website reads.

Well, that's different.

How it works

At 16 weeks in the pregnancy, a fetus can start to detect limited noises, at 24 weeks, sounds may make an unborn baby turn its head, according to What to Expect .

But those sounds are barely audible, representatives of the Institut Marques , a fertility clinic in Barcelona, Spain, that created the Babypod told The Sun .

"By inserting a loudspeaker into the vagina of thousands of patients, for the first time we have managed to communicate with the (fetus)," said Dr. Alex Garcia Faura. "This small device, Babypod, connects to the mobile phone and has allowed us to discover that the (fetus) responds in the same way as a baby, with speech and movement.The baby is learning to communicate."

Heady claims.

Is it safe?

American medical professionals think not.

Pay attention at age 14. That's when most kids start to resist peer influence and flex the think-for-myself muscle, rather than simply following the leader, according to a study published in Developmental Psychology. Want to help strengthen that muscle at any age? Put screens aside and circle the wagons every night. Ask, "What's new with your friends?" This will (here's hoping, if he talks) give you a chance to decode what's happening behind the scenes and offer support.

The device, which sells for about $150, comes with instructions on sanitizing. But Dr. Natalie Azar, an NBC medical contributor, worries about inserting an unnecessary item into the vagina during pregnancy, she told Today.

"The risk of introducing something foreign – you’re not supposed to use tampons while you’re pregnant, not that you would anyway – but doctors limit the amount of manual exams they give pregnant women, even. We all know the vagina has its own way of keeping clean and everything, but this seems like unnecessary risk."

Chloe Zera, an OB/GYN at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, told What to Expect , that until doctors unaffiliated with Babypod can study the effects of the products it will be difficult to endorse.

And while the fertility clinic conducted its own study on the fetus reaction to the musical device, Zera said the research methods need to be examined more closely.

"The study the group conducted wasn’t designed to look at whether music affects brain development. It only looked at movements that they speculate may reflect stimulation. We don’t know if this really is providing stimulation to their brain, and if so, we aren't sure if that is a good or bad thing."

Abide by the three rules of homework. Number one: "Eat the frog," says Ted Theodorou, a middle-school social studies teacher in Fairfax County, Virginia. That's shorthand for "Do the hardest thing first." Rule number two: Put away the phone. Homework time can't be totally tech-free (computers, alas, are often a necessary evil), but it can at least be free of text messages. Rule number three: As soon as assignments are finished, load up the backpack for tomorrow and place it by the door. This is a clear three-step process that kids can internalize, so there's less nagging from you. (Yes!)

Finally, she said the music the fetus hears may be louder, but it's not known whether that could be harming a developing baby's hearing.

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