Myth: Little Can Be Done to Enhance Fetal Wellbeing in Utero
Fact: A multitude of forces--biological, environmental, social and personal--many of which are beyond our control, participate in the molding of a human being. Equally clear, and of tremendous significance, is the knowledge that a great deal can be done to enhance our child's wellbeing while she is in utero. And, the primary ingredient is not ultra high tech, inaccessible, expensive--it is simply love.
The more we learn about the factors facilitating optimal brain development, the clearer it becomes that input determines outcome. Along with the more surprising implications in previous articles introducing recent findings that emphasize the importance of the emotional environment surrounding the unborn, new findings validate the importance of guidelines for nutrition, smoking, drinking, and drugs. Nutrients and chemicals the pregnant mother eats or breathes will enter her bloodstream, cross to the placenta and travel through the umbilical cord to the baby, influencing the wellbeing of the baby's brain. Just as appropriate nutrition can forever enhance the structure of the fetal brain, exposure to toxins and pollutants--inhaled or ingested--can cause permanent damage. An inadequate intake of nutrients and vitamins inevitably impedes healthy development. When maternal blood is rich in oxygen and appropriate nutrients, the prenate will thrive.
There are no one-to-one correlations in human psychology. Even though the baby is the product of an unhappy or even abusive marriage; or of an unhappy, even depressed mother, this does not necessarily mean the child will become a depressed, disordered adult. But the womb is the child's first world. How he experiences it--as loving or hostile--creates his personality and character predispositions. The womb shapes his expectations. If the environment in the womb is hostile, the child will move into the world with fear and suspicion. It will take a great deal of love to heal this. If it enfolds him in a loving, nurturing embrace, he is likely to expect the outside world to be likewise. If optimism is engraved on his mind, it will a take a great deal of adversity later to erase it.
Of all the factors affecting us, one encompasses them all--it is our consciousness. The awareness with which a human being--past or future--is surrounded, the thoughts and feelings it is nurtured with, the intentions that create it, the vision which gives it form and direction--these are the elements which affect its future development.
--Laura A. Huxley
Laura A. Huxley & Piero Ferrucci, The Child of Your Dreams
Thomas R. Verny, Preparenting: Nurturing Your Baby from Conception