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Welcome, medical contents search April 25, 2013
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Fetal Education

I didn't expose my first child to any external stimulation like music when I was pregnant, but I want to do it properly for my second.

Avoid stress; listen to good music often.

I am in my late twenties and I am three months pregnant with my second child. I was totally stressed out during my first pregnancy living with my in-laws. My husband and I argued constantly over trivial matters. Being pregnant was difficult for me to adjust to physically and emotionally, and our living arrangement didn't help. Life wasn't pleasant. With a frail body, I had numerous complications and I felt emotionally unstable. Maybe because of that, my first child is of timid and nervous disposition. Although I neglected to expose him to positive stimulation during my pregnancy, I want to make sure my second gets plenty of exposure, during my pregnancy and his infancy. Please give me some ideas about the best activities and when to start them.

Erik Erikson, known for his 8-step human psychosocial development theory, said that the first issue an infant faces right after birth is trust. He emphasized that trust is the most important factor in the child's developing personality; and love, quality not quantity, is the key. According to Erikson, basic trust involves having the courage to let go of the familiar and take a step toward the unknown. Studies suggest that when healthy trust is formed from the start of life, it leads one to moral, honest, balanced conduct in relations with others. So, the best expression of love parents can give to their newborn is through "skinship", i.e., embracing and patting tenderly.

The importance of physical contact for infants has been noted in clinical in addition to anecdotal studies. Children exposed to affection and warmth from the staff as well from parents tend to recover faster than those who are deprived of stimulation. Strong hormonal feedback appears to be involved with the will to live and wellness. The story of Granny Anna, a classic anecdotal entry in the literature of childcare, serves as a charming illustration.

Dr. Fritz Talbert was perplexed why a particular children's hospital had a lower neonatal death rate than others in the area. The hospital appeared to follow the customary standards for sanitation, applied the usual procedures in the nursery, and used the same medical equipment as the other clinics. One day, he noticed an older woman spending time with the newborns, even though, according to the regulars, she wasn't a nurse. This is what they told Dr. Talbert.

Whenever a sick infant failed to respond to medical treatment, they got Granny Anna to shower the babe with hugs and embraces-that is, with motherly love. And miraculously, in almost all cases, the babies got better, demonstrating the role loving touch plays in providing physical and mental stability.

Current research suggests that the human personality starts to develop in the womb before birth, not after. Embryos are sensitive to love and pain. For example, when a pregnant woman is happy, angry, scared, or gloomy, her emotions are relayed to the baby through blood chemistry.

Though the results of actual studies are still pending, anecdotal reports indicate that mothers who are distressed either physically or emotionally during pregnancy tend to give birth to babies with a considerably higher incidence of birth defects and complications, than mothers who are in supportive, happy marriages. Whatever the mother is experiencing, the embryo experiences, too. Further, such studies suggest that following birth, parental love empowers the newborn to overcome the stress and harm it may have incurred during the months of term.

Mental health professionals should always collect a pre-birth history from their patients whenever they can, asking about their mother's physical and emotional state and environment during pregnancy. They will be surprised to learn what a strong impact these factors have on the formation of personality.

Based on what we now know about prenatal learning-formative experiences that occur in the womb, pregnant women should consider the following.
  • Strive for tranquility; establish the security and support you will need to cultivate peace of mind.
  • Listen to beautiful music (Mozart is especially good for the fetus's early brain development) often.
  • Avoid stress.
  • Every so often, lay a hand on your stomach-and encourage the father to do the same-and have a loving conversation with your baby, welcoming it and telling it how happy and proud you are to be bringing it into the world.
  • Try to forgive the people that hurt you in former times, and release the anger and pain. Ten months of pregnancy is a long time to subject such an impressionable captive as your baby to your emotional baggage. Why not make his or her first steps in life as clear and unencumbered as possible.

    In the final analysis, the best thing you can do for your baby is to love him, secure in the knowledge that your love is as important as mother's milk.

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