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Research suggests that positive thinking can affect your body mentally, emotionally, and physically, but how does that translate in pregnancy. Recent evidence reinforces that your thinking, and even your emotions, impact not only your body and well-being during pregnancy but also that of your unborn baby.
Thoughts and Emotions during Pregnancy
In fact, during pregnancy all of your thoughts have a direct physical connection to your child. As you think and feel, your body naturally transfers these emotions to your child through neurohormones in your body. In reality, your emotions are thoughts that you feel, and these feelings are passed directly to your baby.
Pregnancy is a significant life event that brings along with it a number of thoughts and feeling. Bring along with that the overwhelm of pregnancy hormones, and you have the recipe for an onslaught of emotions. Emotions may arise from how you perceive your pregnancy, plans for the nursery or baby shower, your marriage relationship, your desire to work, and more. So, how does this affect your child, and what can you do about it?
Research and Reality of Mom and Baby’s Emotions
Research indicates that mothers who had more negative feelings throughout their pregnancies had babies who were slower to develop after birth. Likewise, babies whose mothers had an overall more positive affect were faster developing after birth. But, do emotions affect how the baby feels in the womb, and how do we know?
While fewer studies have been done to determine how a baby actually experiences her mother’s emotions in the womb, current technology provides us a unique insight into that experience. Today’s 3D and 4D ultrasounds allow us to view babies in real time and provide the opportunity to see facial expressions and body movements like never before.
Experiential data indicates that mothers who are happy have been able to see their babies being more active and even smiling in the womb while mothers who were depressed experience less movement and positive activity. So, what can you do to promote a healthy experience for your baby despite all of the anxiety that accompanies pregnancy?
Enhancing Baby’s Emotional Connection
While no pregnant mother feels happy all the time, there are a number of things you can do to promote your emotional wellbeing and, in turn, enhance your emotional connection with your baby. Visual exercises and guided imagery are effective strategies for promoting your own positive emotional affect and also improving your baby’s.
To practice positive visual exercises, find a place free of distractions and interruptions. Begin by closing your eyes and practicing seeing, feeling, and hearing your healthy baby. Attempt to identify as many senses as you can and try to keep your mind focused. Take this time to daydream about what you will do with your baby and how you will care for him or her. This practice helps develop neurons throughout the brain for you and baby.
Guided imagery takes these visual exercises a step further. As you visualize, consider these aspects of your baby’s growth and development:
• See your baby growing.
• Visualize a healthy baby.
• Hear a healthy child.
• See the heart pumping, arms moving, and cells growing.
• See your baby smiling in your womb – something that you can really do with a 3D or 4D ultrasound.
• Her your baby laugh and feel her joyful movements.
Your baby really does experience your emotions in the womb. And these emotions have a significant impact on her growth in utero and beyond. Practice positive visualization techniques and consider getting a 3D or 4D ultrasound to really see how your baby is growing, developing, and feeling your emotions.