Prenatal psychology – what the baby in the womb can do, knows and feels!

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It wasn’t all that long ago that newborn babies weren’t trusted with too much. Now, however, the Prenatal psychology impressive evidence: Already in the womb, the baby gets more than you thought before. And what it learns in the nine months has a great impact on its life .

Cries of pain, one last push, then the baby lies on mommy’s tummy. Blissfully, with tears of joy in her eyes, she presses her child against her. Immediate physical contact, time for cuddling and breastfeeding – under such perfect conditions, the much-cited "bonding" explained in every pregnancy book can take place After birth, the foundation for perfect mother-child bonding can be laid.

Part of life from the beginning

Until a few years ago, it was believed that the psychological development of the person with the Birth begin. Mothers, however, had other things to report: The Relationship with the baby is not only established after birth, the baby is familiar to us already during pregnancy! We feel it, talk to it and incorporate it into our lives. And in the best case scenario this from the beginning, Long before we feel the first twinge of.

How good this does the child has already been confirmed: The more mothers (and fathers) focus on their Let the unborn baby in, the more they have an idea of his nature, the more they are ready to take their child seriously in later life and to respond to his personality, his individual development. This is just one of the many findings that we have made to the Prenatal psychology owe.

Amazing insights

What can the baby in the belly really get now? Prenatal research in biochemistry, neurobiology and embryology, as well as the latest technologies, give us amazing insights! While women are just beginning to wonder if they are pregnant, the Basic structures of the human body already to be recognized.

The Embryo can be quite a lot at this point:

  • The Activation of the heart muscle with five weeks,
  • measurable brain waves at six weeks provide the first clues to the functioning of the nervous system.
  • Around the tenth week, the baby starts to become aware of a lot of move – since this does not happen reflexively, but freely and without constraint, it is seen as a sign of the first "personal activity interpreted.
  • With the Taste or the Hearing other hormonal processes are also developing Senses.

A witty input was granted by a Study, made with fans of a daily soap: If mothers had watched the series daily during pregnancy, their babies recognized their Cover again after birth – other babies, however, remained unaffected by this. On the basis of comparable studies thus also the memory performance of the unborn child confirms. Not only that Voice of his mother The child recognizes this – it can therefore be calmed more quickly later with music that it heard in the womb!

Nine months of learning

In any case, the unborn child can perceive, what happens all around. And it learns! "What a person experiences in the months leading up to birth is the foundation for what he or she will learn thereafter", the brain researcher Gerald Huther clearly states. Until recently, it was always said that this or that peculiarity or preference was "innate", we know today: many things have the babies in the womb simply learned!

"The activity of the Embryos and the stimuli it receives, especially its interaction with the mother, determine the connections that form the nerve cells in the brain", explains Huther. It is particularly interesting what babies are already learning "for life" learn: Depending on which physical and ultimately also "mental" brain experiences them in the in the belly of their mother were exposed to, this has big impact on the later attitude to the world and to one’s own life.

communication and interaction between mother and child play here perhaps even a greater role than the genetic predisposition. On an unconscious level, the two communicate from the very beginning via biochemical or. hormonal processes.:

  • Does the mother feel happy, is her increases endorphin levels and thus also that of their child.
  • Is she stressed, reach the Stress hormones the child. But stress definitely has an effect negative have an impact on the child’s development. It lowers in the baby the Intelligence and increases the risk of diseases such as depression, diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • Also can Anxiety or Depression during pregnancy can lead to lower birth weight or premature birth, not to speak of the psychological effects on the children: later disorders in social behavior, attention or sleep disorders can be the result.

Memories of the time in the belly

Brain research also describes that the brain Memory pictures preserved from the unborn baby’s exchange with the outside world. These cannot be put into words later, but could be recalled through bodily sensations. Psychotherapists recognized this long before modern research: "Observations showed that prenatal experience are stored in the memory and can be activated again in certain life situations.", tells the prenatal expert Ludwig Janus. The feeling of rejection can later lead to reduced self-esteem or neurosis, for example.

Since these experiences are pre-linguistic, very much determined by feelings, and simply not "measurable they have long been in the background; now the picture has changed. "Nevertheless psychosomatic connections still much too little taken into account by gynecologists", knows gynecologist Barbara Maier: "The medical side of pregnancy is in the foreground, there are ultrasound examinations, it is measured and calculated. And if something is out of the norm, it is pathologized instead of getting to the bottom of causes in a conversation with the woman and pointing out her own possibilities for the healthy development of her child".

The reverse is quite simple:

  • If it is proven that negative feelings, especially stress, reaching the unborn and "harming" it If the baby is not able to inflict burnout, then the same applies to positive feelings, which have a favorable influence on its development. psychotherapists confirm: A joyful attitude to the child with positive emotions can, for example, be a resource for a later trusting and affirmative attitude toward life its.

Encourage prenatal relationship

Now what does this mean for the expectant mamas: first and foremost Stress avoid?

  • Even when pregnant women take it easy, when they cut back during maternity leave: Stress cannot always be prevented. Fortunately, however, a small workload is not harmful.
  • On the other hand, more difficult physical and psychological limits going loads. All the more important Oases of rest to look for, to refuel strength and to create mental balance – for itself and for the baby, which feels everything along with its mother.
  • Also social support reduces stress and nervous symptoms. Besides the family network have their own Midwife, the emotional support of a companion with experience of childbirth, an "Doula", or also the prenatal relationship promotion by means of so-called Bonding analysis (Prenatal Bonding) proven: In this process, the expectant mom deepens the contact with her baby, is supported by the attachment analyst, and also learns to integrate negative life history experiences or specific pregnancy experiences. "Umbilical cord of the soul" psychologist Jeno Raffai refers to the intuitive and unique connection between mother and child: "Usually the two communicate in the form of an inner dialogue or with images, movements and sensations. This is how the mother can guide her baby through the ups and downs of her emotional life". Also the Attachment Analysis is based on the fact that all the feelings of the pregnant woman trigger physiological reactions in the body, which the baby experiences one-to-one. However, it should not "one feel with its mother! "She should identify with her child and "sense" her child’s needs, recommends Raffai.

To reassure us all, however, the experts emphasize: Our history is our potential, so we can master and work through difficult situations in pregnancy together with our child, with loving contact and attention – even afterwards. But the sooner you think about what the baby in your belly can do, know and feel, the better!

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