Editor's note: This story was originally published in 2016; this product is still on the market and seems to be attracting attention again so we are re-elevating this story as a cautionary tale.
Parents who are eager to let their unborn child hear the latest Taylor Swift single or a Mozart symphony can now invest in a small speaker system that mothers-to-be insert into their vagina to play music for their fetus.
The BabyPod, created by a company based in Spain, costs $150 and promises to stimulate the vocalization of babies before birth, as well as encourage neural development.
The small, pink device is inserted into the vagina, and connects to an app that allows parents to select from a variety of playlists designed especially for baby.
But do moms really need to purchase speakers for their vaginas to aid in their baby’s development? NBC medical contributor Dr. Natalie Azar says she’s doubtful.
“I can’t imagine that an obstetrician would be OK with this, number one — and number two, the science behind it sounds a bit loosey-goosey to me,” Dr. Azar told TODAY Parents.
Dr. Azar says she is apprehensive about stimulating a baby in such a manner, adding that pediatricians recommend that small children avoid screen time and other over-stimulation for similar reasons.
And, while the makers of BabyPod offer instructions on sanitizing the device, Dr. Azar says introducing such an item into the vagina during pregnancy seems unnecessary.
“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,” said Dr. Azar. “We all know the vagina has its own way of keeping clean and everything, but this seems like unnecessary risk.”
For parents hoping that in utero stimulation will make their babies more intelligent, Dr. Azar recommends instead playing music in a room while the mom-to-be is relaxing, or speaking to the fetus, as babies have been proven to recognize and respond to their parents’ voices before birth.
“The best thing for a child is old fashioned interaction with their parents once they’re born — bonding and reading books and playing with things,” said Dr. Azar.
“No mother-to-be out there needs to feel guilty for not putting this in her vagina, thinking that she is going to give her child a disadvantage,” she said.