The Wellspring Logo
wellness workbookWellness Workbook
How To Achieve Enduring Health and Vitality
John W. Travis, M.D. & Regina Sara Ryan
 
top_img1
top_img2
  Home  > Child/Family Wellness  > Myth: The Fetus' Brain and Personality Development Are Independent of their Womb Experience

Myth: The Fetus' Brain and Personality Development Are Independent of their Womb Experience

Fact: Over the past decade, revolutionary discoveries in neuroscience and developmental psychology have shattered long-held misconceptions about fetal development. Today we know that from the moment of conception, the "wiring" of a child's brain is strongly influenced by her environment. While it is true that the brain is sensitive to experience throughout life, experience during the critical periods of fetal development and the early hours and days of life after birth play a primary role in determining the architecture of the brain, and the nature and extent of adult capacities.

This explains why mothers report so much fetal activity so early in pregnancy. Interacting with the environment through movement, the prenate's experiences build the scaffolding under which the brain takes shape. It is impossible to separate mind from body, or nature from nurture. Our brains, and consequently our personalities, emerge from a complex interplay between the genes we are born with and the experiences we have.

While the realization that genetics is not destiny, and that environment is paramount to development, places new responsibilities on parents, it also engenders new opportunities.

Even though it has long been known that a calm pregnancy creates a favorable context for development, scores of studies in recent years have documented the potential for increased risk of lifelong problems for prenates exposed to excessive maternal stress, anxiety, and depression. This is not surprising, given that maternal feelings and moods are linked to hormones and neurotransmitters that travel through the bloodstream and across the placenta to the developing brain of unborn child. Prolonged exposure to stress hormones primes the brain to react in fight-or-flight mode--even when inappropriate--throughout life. On the other hand, maternal feelings centered on joy and love bathe the growing brain in "feel good" endorphins and neurohormones such as oxytocin, and promote a lifelong sense of wellbeing. Parents--and hence their unborn--do better when living in a calm, addiction-free environment, supported by family and friends.

Sources

Thomas R. Verny, Preparenting: Nurturing Your Baby from Conception

Thomas R. Verny, The Secret Life of the Unborn Child*




top_img3
links_heading
Home
right_link_sep
Personal Wellness
right_link_sep
Personal Wellness Lite
right_link_sep
Child / Family
   An Introduction
   Premises and Objectives
   Pregnancy
   Birth
   The First Year
   Discipline
   Daycare
   Learning
   Cultural Pressures
   Links (Child/Family)
right_link_sep
Global Wellness
right_link_sep
For Professionals
right_link_sep
About
right_link_sep
Contact Us
right_link_sep
right_link_sep
right_link_sep
right_link_bottom
feature_topics_heading
Helping Professionals
This area consists of text from Wellness for Helping Professionals, by John W. Travis, MD, and Meryn Callander. more...
sep
Premises and Objectives
The culture in which we live plays a major role in shaping our beliefs and behaviors. more...
sep
Pregnancy
Over the past decade, revolutionary discoveries in neuroscience and developmental psychology have shattered long-held misconceptions about fetal devel more...
sep
right_box_top
left_box_bottom

 

top_img4
left_box_bottom
© 2017, Wellness Associates, Inc, All Rights Reserved. Home | Personal Wellness | Personal Wellness Lite | Child/Family | Global Wellness | For Professionals | Resources | About The Wellspring | Contact Us | Advertising Disclaimer | Another site & Search Engine Marketing (SEO) by webko.com.au Byron Bay - Web Design Australia