You can connect with your unborn baby in the womb with pre-natal bonding in many ways. It’s never too late to start. Babies respond differently to different sounds and activities through their movement, and studies have shown that babies often react positively to gentle vibrations, music, voices, light, warmth, touch and even humour. Any gentle, intentionally initiated interaction will help with pre-natal bonding. Studies have found that babies love the sound of their parent’s voices, especially when sung to and often respond with gentle moving action. Daily conversations and positive birth affirmations read to your baby are a lovely way to connect. Having a playful conversation using touch can also be a wonderfully bonding experience – gently rubbing, squeezing, patting, pressing and massaging in response to your baby’s movement. Research has also found that babies exposed to soft music in the womb were calmer, happier and better adjusted to life outside the womb and they also slept better.
So How do we Know that Babies in the Womb are Aware?
Thanks to research into the pre-natal development of babies, which was advanced in the late 1970s and early 80s, it is now believed that individual consciousness exists from the moment there is a living cell, so it is there at conception and within the embryo. The subconscious mind is imprinted by emotional encounters and the memory of these experiences is held in our cells – These deep early memories can be accessed later on in life through hypnosis.
Dr David Chamberlain’s studies found that babies do remember their births. In his book entitled ‘Babies Remember Birth’, he was able to show how the imprint of babies’ birth experiences is carried throughout their lives. Researchers have said that when people have recalled what happened, it goes as far back as the pre-natal period, way before they had the brain support to remember.
Studies observe babies through the use of ultarasound equipment. Dr Chamberlain discovered that babies develop their own physical exercise routines in the womb and are fully aware of their surroundings and their parents, as early as 20 weeks. Dr Chamberlain states, that “from all our studies we know that babies are far more sophisticated that we had ever given them credit for. We didn’t think babies could sense anything. We didn’t think babies had the brains to know what the senses were telling them. Babies seem to have a working mind, which is part of their consciousness. It’s not something that develops in stages. It’s quite simply part of who they are.” Knowing this, it is only natural that babies should thrive on interaction and socialisation.
The Benefit of Pre-Natal Bonding on Babies’ Health
Dr Thomas Verny, who wrote the book ‘The Secret Life of the Unborn Child’, studied the effect of pre-natal bonding and birth environment on babies’ health, learning ability and their relationships and found that in addition to developing physically, babies are developing mentally, emotionally and psychically and are affected by emotional encounters in the womb.
A study at the University of Salzburg showed the benefits of pre-natal bonding on babies’ health – fewer premature births, fewer low birth weight babies, an increase in the socialisation of babies and better general overall health.
Does Stress in Mothers Effect Babies?
On the flip side, studies have also shown that a baby’s heart rate increases dramatically when exposed to loud or disturbing noises, screaming or emotional distress. Developments in neuroscience have helped us to understand that if stress in the mother remains high over a prolonged period of time, it can cause the sympathetic response system or fear fight flight response to become permanently wired for over-sensitivity, affecting the baby’s reactions and ability to cope with stress later in life. Put simply, the less stress in pregnancy, the better equipped the baby will be psychologically.
Love is the Most Important Emotion for Babies
Ongoing studies are attempting to determine the degree to which a baby in the womb is affected by these emotional encounters, but what has become very clear is that babies’ sense of wellbeing and self-esteem benefit enormously from being made to feel welcome, wanted and loved, right from the very start. Love sends out a message of security to your baby and is by far the most important emotion for your unborn child – both the love that you share as parents and the love that you feel for your baby.
Hypnobirthing will give your baby the best possible birthing experience on the day through the use of relaxation, breathing, visualisation and hypnosis fear release techniques. Visit www.togetherbirthinng.com for more information on my courses.
Emma Harwood-Jones, Hypnobirthing Practitioner
‘What Babies Want, An Exploration of the Consciousness of Infants’ – Documentary by Debby Takikawa
‘The Secret Life of The Unborn Child’ – Dr Thomas Verny, 1982
‘Babies Remember Birth’ – Dr David Chamberlain, 1989