Institut Marquès has presented research on foetal hearing and the effects of music on early life during the Ig Nobel Tour where it was showcasing its vaginal loudspeaker, Babypod.

The international gynaecological and assisted reproduction institute has been conducting research into the effects of music during embryonic and foetal development for several years. Its director, Dr Marisa López-Teijón, received the Ig Nobel Prize for Medicine in September 2017 for the discovery of foetal hearing.

Institut Marquès scientific director Álex Garcia-Faura said: “By inserting a loudspeaker into the vagina of thousands of patients, for the first time we have managed to communicate with the foetus.

“Babypod has allowed us to discover that the foetus responds in the same way as a baby, with speech and movement. Thousands of women are already using it to communicate with their babies during pregnancy.”

The Ig Nobel Prizes ‘honour achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think’. The objective is for prestigious scientists from across the world to present their research to the public in a fun and entertaining way. One of the most popular events of this year’s Ig Nobel Tour took place in the Aarhus University of Copenhagen, with around 800 people in attendance.

As part of the European Ig Nobel Tour, chief researcher of the foetal hearing study Dr. López-Teijón and Garcia-Faura, presented their work at universities in Sweden and Denmark and used their platform to explain how their product dispels many widely accepted myths among pregnant women.

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López-Teijón said: “Thanks to the creation of a vaginal loudspeaker, Babypod, we have shown that foetuses can hear from the 16th week onwards when they measure 11 centimetres, only if the sound reaches them directly from the vagina.

“Foetuses can barely hear the noise from outside. So we can say that the myth of talking to babies through pregnant women’s bellies is a thing of the past.”

She added: “We also have improved in vitro fertilisation by applying musical vibrations in the incubators of our assisted reproduction clinics.”

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the Babypod device as a general wellness product.