What Babies Learn During Pregnancy

You are your child’s first teacher. From the moment of conception, babies are enrolled in the university of life. Every experience a mother has during pregnancy is designed to teach her baby about the world he will soon encounter.  According to Bruce Lipton in Biology of Belief, all of the information babies receive from their mother in the womb serves as a special lesson plan for adapting to their new world. Mothers are teaching their babies about their world throughout pregnancy, via special neuropeptides sent through the placenta, which Candice Pert refers to as “Molecules of Emotion”. This is the basis for the bond between a mother and her baby and is the beginning of the school of life.

Contrary to popular belief, the mother baby bond begins well before birth.  This bond starts early in pregnancy and is made possible because the placenta acts as a highly advanced communication device between the two. When a mother experiences an emotion or feeling, messenger molecules pulse through her body. These molecules are designed to communicate information to the mother’s body systems, but they also communicate to the baby via the placenta. For example, if a mother feels anxiety or stress, her heart rate increases, her adrenaline spikes and she moves into a state of fight or flight. Her body begins producing cortisol, the stress hormone. When mothers have stress during pregnancy, babies are stressed, too. The March of Dimes reports that chronic stress in pregnancy can lead to health problems in the mother, such as preterm delivery, high blood pressure and other medical issues. Chronic stress in pregnancy can lead to a baby who cries more, sleeps less, and is anxious. On a positive note, when a mother has joyful, loving, and compassionate emotions, it helps contribute to a healthier womb environment. Less stress leads to healthier development for babies.

This unique communication between a mother and baby is how the baby’s emotional intelligence is created. When a mother has a loving thought, her baby experiences love.  When she feels joyful, he encounters joy.  When she is angry, he perceives anger.  It is an amazing process designed to give babies the opportunity to develop a healthy emotional life that matches the emotional tone of his new family. This emotional tone is his way preparing for and coping with his world, known as the EQ, or emotional quotient.  In Daniel Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence 2, he acknowledges that a healthy EQ is more important for long-term happiness throughout a lifetime than a high IQ.

The realization that they are their child’s first teacher can empower mothers to make better choices. These choices can include practicing stress reduction techniques, developing healthier relationships, eating healthy foods and practicing conscious decision making. Mothers have the power to change the world when they choose to teach their babies lessons of love during pregnancy. 

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