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A Mother’s Emotions Affect Her Unborn Child

Posted on January 25th, 2013 by | 6 views
By James Goodlatte

Experts and evidence suggest that useful, positive thinking can shape the body, heal internally, and even grow a healthier child during pregnancy.

A pregnant woman’s thoughts have a physical connection to her unborn child. “Everything the pregnant mother feels and thinks is communicated through neurohormones to her unborn child, just as surely as are alcohol and nicotine,” states Thomas Verny, MD. Dr. Verny’s books, professional publications, and founding of the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH) and Pre- and Perinatal Journal, have established him as one of the worlds leading authorities on the effects of prenatal environment on personality development. He quotes numerous studies, saying research like that from Austrian obstetrician Emil Reinold “…proves that maternal emotions are transmitted physiologically as well.”

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, agrees, saying, “Your unborn baby has a direct connection to your thoughts and emotions.” Medical dictionaries define emotion as a mental and physical state, referring to the hormones and other molecules associated with emotion. Chopra further bridges the mental-physical gap when he writes, “Thoughts that we feel are called emotions.” Both Verny and Chopra confirm that a pregnant woman’s thoughts alter her internal chemistry and affect her unborn child.

Take the childbirth experience, for example. What comes to mind? One woman’s thoughts invoke emergency rooms and bloody television scenes, creating fearful emotions. Another woman thinks about her sister’s natural water-birth and experiences joyful emotions. A person’s thoughts either produce positive or negative emotion. A pregnant woman’s emotions are created based on the way she perceives her pregnancy, baby-shower plans, nursery decoration, spouse, work, health, money, traffic, or anything else. A pregnant woman’s thoughts are the precursor for her emotions. And her emotions are the precursor for the “neurohormones” that Verny mentions above.

A pregnant woman’s negative thoughts can be detrimental for her unborn baby. In Pre-Parenting, Nurturing Your Child from Conception, Dr. Verny writes “A preponderance of negative feelings may have a negative impact on your baby, while positive feelings will be life-enhancing.” In Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives,Dr. Chopra explains exactly what pregnancy research is revealing, “When a pregnant mother is anxious, stressed, or in a fearful state, the stress hormones released into her bloodstream cross through the placenta to the baby. Hundreds of studies have confirmed that chemicals released by the pregnant mother’s body are transported into the womb and affect the unborn baby.”

Negative thoughts are often the root cause of the negative, fear-based stress response. Chopra states, “Stress activates the unborn child’s endocrine system and influences fetal brain development. Children born to mothers who had intensely stressful pregnancies are more likely to have behavioral problems later in life.” Verny agrees, “…studies show that mothers under extreme and constant stress are more likely to have babies who are premature, lower than average in weight, hyperactive, irritable, and colicky.” Cell biologist, neuroscientist, and Stanford researcher, Bruce Lipton, PhD, sites six specific studies when he writes, “When passing through the placenta, the hormones of a mother experiencing chronic stress will profoundly alter the distribution of blood flow in her fetus and change the character of her developing child’s physiology.” Chopra writes, “When you are stressed, you release chemicals coded for stress, and every cell in your body receives the message.” Those cells include the growing fetus.

On the other hand, says Dr. Verny, “Positive maternal emotions have been shown to advance the health of the unborn child.” He continues, “…thoughts which infuse the developing baby with a sense of happiness or calm can set the stage for a balance, happy, and serene disposition throughout life.” Chopra agrees, “When you feel joyful, your body produces natural pleasure chemicals called endorphins and encephalins. When you are peaceful and relaxed, you release chemicals similar to prescription tranquilizers.” Without stress, says Chopra, “your baby’s nervous system works smoothly. When you’re calm and centered, your baby is able to grow peacefully…”

Research put forth by experts interviewed for the epigenetic film documentary, What the Bleep, sheds light on how this may occur. The documentary explains that negative fear-based thoughts destroy optimal cellular function. One of the films experts, Dr. Joe Dispenza, with background in biochemisty, neurology, and cellular biology, teaches how to re-program thinking using neuro-physiologic principals. “If we’re bombarding the cell with the same attitude and the same chemistry over and over…,” he says, “when that cell finally decides to divide…that next cell will have more receptor sites for those particular emotional neuropeptides and less receptor sites for vitamins minerals nutrients, fluid exchange, or even the release of waste products or toxins.” On the other hand, say the experts, positive loving thoughts improve cell function.

Dr. Dispenza then poses a radical question: “Does it really matter what we eat, does nutrition really have an effect, if the cell doesn’t even have the receptor sites after 20 years of emotional abuse, to even receive or let in the nutrients that are necessary for its health?” His answer, along with the other experts in What the Bleep, is to change the way you think.

In Nurturing the Unborn Child, Verny suggests 47 exercises that the pregnant mom can perform throughout pregnancy. One of these is “creative visualization.” This form of mental imagery can program one’s subconscious thoughts, changing perceptions and responses from negative to positive. Verny writes, it “has helped cure disease, enhance performance, and improve state of mind. Used by ancient medicine men, shamans, and yogis for millennia, visualization was long the first line of defense against disease.” Research has confirmed imagery can alter blood flow, grow healthy cells, and destroy cancer cells. Lipton has even offered that a pregnant mother can affect her unborn child’s genetic development. Whether it’s called imagery, visualization, meditation, or hypnosis, decades of research has established this process for generating a multitude of tangible changes in the mental, emotional, and physical body.

There are two primary focuses that you can practice. One is to create a more calm and happy you, the other is to create a more happy and healthy child. This can be done in just a few minutes each day. In a place that is free of interruptions, simply close your eyes and practice seeing, feeling, and even hearing a healthy baby. Conjure as many senses as you can, as feeling may be more important than seeing. Use the richness of your imagination, and go on a daydream. If other thoughts enter your mind, patiently return to your happy self and healthy baby. Like actors who develop emotions on cue, practicing positive thoughts and feelings will branch neurons and wire parts of your brain to respond accordingly. The more you practice, the faster and better you will learn to retrieve those emotions.

A Short Guided Imagery
Imagine your growing baby. Maybe she is one centimeter or maybe ten centimeters. See what a healthy child looks like. Sense what a healthy child feels like. Hear what a healthy child sounds like. How does his heart pump blood? How do her arms move? How are his cells growing? See your little one smile in the womb, hear her laugh, feel her move in joyful motion. There is no right or wrong. Let your five minute daydream flow however a healthy child can be imagined.

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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