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Positive and Negative Thoughts May Affect Fetal Genetics

Posted on January 25th, 2013 by | 7 views
By James Goodlatte

Negativity or positivism during pregnancy can alter neural development and affect genetic expression, according to some researchers in the field of epigenetics. By causing a chemical hormonal response, pregnancy perceptions affect physical development of babies, and may also alter fetal genetics.

In Biology of Belief, cell biologist, neuroscientist, and Stanford researcher, Bruce Lipton, PhD, discusses how thoughts “perceived by their mothers before birth” allows the unborn infant to “optimize their genetic and physiologic development.”

Dr. Thomas Verny, who founded the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH), writes, “Scientists have come to recognize living organisms as ‘dynamic systems’ capable of actively reprogramming gene behaviors to accommodate environmental challenges.”

“Recognizing the role the prenatal environment plays in creating disease forces a reconsideration of genetic determinism,” says Lipton. He continues, quoting Cornell prenatal physiologist, Peter Nathanielsz, M.D., Ph.D. “Nathanielsz writes: ‘there is mounting evidence that programming of lifetime health by the conditions in the womb is equally, if not more important, than our genes in determining how we perform mentally and physically during life.’” Nathanielsz agrees that the environment provided to the womb may be more important than genes. Lipton concludes, “…the latest genetic research suggest(s) that parents should cultivate that twinkle in the months before they conceive a child.”

In Tomorrows Baby: The Art and Science of Parenting from Conception through Infancy, Verny also reports emerging genetic research. Referring to molecular biologists John Cairns and Barry Hall, Dr. Verny writes, “In experiment after experiment, they find microorganisms are whipping up [genetic] mutations especially suited to their surroundings…”

Lipton says a pregnant woman’s body adopts one of two possibilities: growth or protection. Growth, he says, is encouraged with positive thinking while “a protection posture” results from negative perceptions.

Perceiving too many daily situations without a healthy optimism can cause one to produce the stress hormone, cortisol. Lipton writes, “An additional effect of excess cortisol is that it simultaneously switches the mother’s and the fetus’ system from a growth state to a protection posture. As a result, the growth-inhibiting effect of excess cortisol in the womb causes the babies to be born smaller.”

Positive thoughts may be the ultimate health tip for a pregnant woman. “That growth-promoting awareness and intention can produce a smarter, healthier and happier baby,” says Lipton.

Deepak Chopra, MD, the world-renowned authority in the field of mind-body healing, best-selling author, and founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, writes, “Adrenaline, noradrenaline, oxytocin, serotonin, and most other messenger molecules are transported across the placenta and influence your unborn baby. These chemicals generate a cascade of responses in your body, and in the body of your unborn child.” InMagical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives, he teaches pregnant women how to change their thoughts and feelings toward joy in order to release beneficial chemicals for their unborn baby.

If negative thoughts are the root cause of the destructive stress response, practicing mental imagery can reprogram a solution. Versions of mental imagery are taught by Verny, Lipton, and Chopra. But thoughts may have an even more direct route to the DNA.

There is another energy that seems to link emotional thoughts to genetic change. Dr. Joseph Mercola, who runs the largest natural health website in the world,, reported a unique experiment showing just how receptive to thoughts the placenta can be. In the study, The Institute of Heartmath, a non-profit organization dedicated to researching stress and emotional management, used placental DNA. Each of 28 researchers who were “specially trained in how to generate and feel strong emotions on demand,” were given a vial of placental DNA. Researchers found that each placental DNA sample “changed shape according to its researcher’s feelings.” When researchers felt positive emotions, like love, joy and gratitude, the DNA “responded by relaxing: the strands unwound and actually lengthened.” When the researchers felt negative emotions, like anger, fear, frustration, or stress, the DNA “tightened up, became shorter, and even switched off many of its codes.” Finally, when researchers felt positive emotion again, the “codes switched back on.”

“Your thoughts and words are literally made into flesh,” inspires Chopra, “Every experience has an impact on your biology.” His solution is to consciously “choose your experiences.” Dr. Verny says, “No one doubts that the mother’s diet is important to the developing baby…” but “sensation, feeling, and thought—immerse the unborn child in a primordial world of experience, continuously directing the development of the mind.”

Wisely, Chopra writes: “Pregnancy is not just something that is happening to you; it is a miraculous unfolding that you are co-creating. For nine months, you are your baby’s environment, and your baby is affected by each one of your experiences.” Aim to make your experiences positive and practice until your thoughts and perceptions are filtered through the lens of love. It may be the greatest gift you can pass to your child.

James is a certified holistic lifestyle coach who teaches pregnant moms how to nurture super babies. He can be contacted at  [email protected] or through

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