Nothing is more important to parents than their children’s happiness, and even while Baby is in the womb, you can make your precious one happy!
Senior folks are often heard urging expectant mums not to get upset easily or be grouchy during pregnancy. By staying cheerful and not getting agitated easily, the baby will also be happy and non-fretful, they believe. There may some truth in this, for according to a study published in the New Scientist journal, pregnant mums do pass on their feelings to their unborn babies.
In the study led by neurobiology professor, Kazuyuki Shinohara from the Department of Neurobiology and Behaviour of Nagasaki University, Japan, two groups of pregnant women were showed a cheery clip and a tear-jerking clip respectively. They listened to the clips through headphones to ensure that only the effect of their emotions, not the external sounds that can be heard by foetuses, was measured. The study showed that the foetuses responded according to their mother’s moods evoked by the clips.
The results are not exactly unsurprising given that extreme maternal distress is known to affect the foetus adversely, such as increasing the risks of premature birth and babies with low birth weight. Scientists explain that a distressed mother produces an abundance of stress hormones. These hormones cross the placenta and in turn affect the foetus. It is suggested that if a foetus is chronically stressed, his body systems might be trained to overreact to stimuli.
Happy Mum = Happy Baby
So for your baby’s sake, be a happy pregnant mum! Here’s how:
Keep Stress at Bay
Think positive, focus on uplifting thoughts and don’t sweat the small stuff. Avoid taking on too many tasks at one time. Delegate jobs and farm out tasks if needed. Remember to give yourself some breathing room and take ample time-outs.
Do include exercise in your routine. Before exercising, be sure to get the green light from the doctor and engage in non-vigorous workouts, such as walking or swimming. Exercise not only helps you de-stress but releases endorphins that make a person feel good. Moreover, when you are moving, Baby would enjoy being rocked!
Meditation can also help to keep stress levels down. In addition, surround yourself with supportive family and friends who are ready to lend a hand and a listening ear. Talk things out and get help when you feel anxious or troubled.
Unleash the Feel-Good Chemicals
Your emotions trigger the release of different chemicals into your bloodstream. When you are happy, your body releases the “happy chemicals” that put the spring in your steps, lift your energy level and even help you sleep better. These chemicals are passed on to your foetus via the placenta.
Therefore, laugh with friends and watch a comedy to unwind. Get a hug from your Hubby, enjoy an ice-cream cone and indulge in your favourite food now and then. Put on soothing music to calm your nerves and get a relaxing massage. Be happy, unleash as many of these “feel-good” chemicals as you can, and share your joy with Baby!
Send Baby the Love Vibes
Remember to also let your baby in the womb know how much you care and love him:
Talk to Your Baby
Your unborn baby may not quite understand the meaning of your words but he will pick up your loving tone when you speak to him. Talk to your baby as you would if your Baby is already born. Start the day greeting him cheerily and speak to him about what you are doing. Get Hubby to talk to Baby, too. Both of you may want to read or sing to your little one. Let the new life inside you recognise your voices and bond with you.
Respond to Baby
Other than acknowledging your baby’s presence by talking to him, do respond to his actions. When you feel a kick or a stretch, you may want to respond with a “Mum’s here”. If you sense Baby being fretful, place a reassuring hand on your belly, pat it and talk gently to soothe your baby.
Remember not to get too uptight about making your yet-to-be-born baby happy though. For instance, you do not have to feel pressurised to be happy every second. If an expectant mother is generally happy, brief periods of negative emotions are not going to cause an unhappy baby. You are on the right track when you start giving your unborn your tender loving care because, by the time your little bundle makes his entry into the world, you would be quite a pro at giving him attention, responding to him and keeping both Baby and yourself healthy and happy!