Academic journal article Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health

Effects of the Firstart Method of Prenatal Stimulation on Psychomotor Development: From Six to Twelve Months

Academic journal article Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health

Effects of the Firstart Method of Prenatal Stimulation on Psychomotor Development: From Six to Twelve Months

Article excerpt

1 ABSTRACT of the first paper: Effects of the Firstart Method of Prenatal Stimulation on Psychomotor Development: The First Six Months, explored the effectiveness of the Firstart prenatal stimulation method applied to a sample of maternity patients at University Hospital "La Fe" in Valencia, Spain. Both groups of women, (71 control and 101 experimental) were enrolled in the birth preparation class provided at the hospital. Chi-Squared statistical tests indicated that both groups were comparable in a number of variables. In both groups more than 90% were married or living in stable relationships and both groups had similar child birth and life experience records. The mothers in the experimental group wore a waistband equipped with small speakers connected to a tape recorder which played a series of eight tapes of violin sounds. Mothers exposed the unborn babies to an average of 70 hours of music from about 28 weeks gestation to the end of pregnancy. After birth the "Observational Scale of Development" originated by F. Secadas was used by Mothers to chart developmental behaviors from 0 to 6 months. On 22 items of the scale, behaviors of the experimental babies were significantly advanced from those of the control group.

ABSTRACT: In a previous paper, we reported the developmental advantages found in the first semester of life, in a sample of babies that had been prenatally stimulated using the Firstart program. In this paper we offer the results obtained comparing the control and the experimental groups in the second semester of life. Although children in the experimental group are again more advanced than children in the control group, in some behaviors related to memory, fine motor activities, gross motor activities, cooperation in learning, imitation, and self-recognition, the advantages at this age level are fewer than at the preceding level.

INTRODUCTION

Research has confirmed data that supports the efficacy of certain kinds of prenatal stimulation. The future child starts to move at about seven and a half weeks and his repertory of spontaneous and provoked movements is nearly complete around the fifteenth week (Piontelli, 1992; Chamberlain, 1999). At the second quarter of gestation organic sensorial structures of the fetus reach a level of development advanced enough to enable reaction to a wide range of inner and outer stimulation (Ferreira, 1965; Read and Miller, 1977; Peleg and Goldman, 1980; Busnel, 1993; Odent, 1993; Shahidullah and Hepper 1992; Marlier, Schaal, Orgeur, and Rognon, 1995; Schaal and Soussignan, 1998). During the last months of intrauterine life the fetal nervous system in general and the brain in particular are capable of performing some functions (remembering, discrimination of stimuli, habituation, learning by conditioning) (Spelt, 1948; Busnel, 1993; Childs, 1998), and the uterus is not an isolated, silent, protected, homogeneous, and nonstimulated environment. Prenatal literature (Spelt, 1948; Busnel, 1993; Childs; 1998 Chamberlain, 1998) has shown that the fetus has the learning ability that is the foundation of the effectiveness of prenatal stimulation. Some women in different countries have stimulated their babies before birth, because they wanted their babies to be more intelligent. However, the studies in this field are scarce (Manrique, 1989, 1998; Logan, 1987, 1991; Panthuraamphorn, 1993, 1994, 1998a, 1998b; Sallenback, 1993, 1994, 1998; Van de Carr, 1986, 1988, 1998) and only a few of them have been done under scientific conditions. But it is clear that the fetal child, whose abilities have been revealed by the new technologies, reacts in a physiological and in a behavioral way to light, internal and external sounds, cold, sweet and bitter substances, touch, and to the intake of alcohol or tobacco by their mother or to the hormonal flood triggered by her emotions. It must also be taken into account that the younger the unborn child, the bigger the plasticity of his brain, and as a result he can be more receptive to the influence of stimulation and he is at the best moment to be shaped. …

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