Mother-child bonding during pregnancy involves complex physiological processes that engage almost every part of the body – from our brains to our hearts, hormone and nerves. Developing a strong connection with your baby is found to have an impressive impact on your baby’s overall well being.
Beyonce revealed her own experience bonding and communicating with Blue Ivy during labour:
We were talking. I know it sounds crazy, but I felt a communication.
Pre-natal psychologists study the earliest parts of human development – and there is a lot of research that suggests it isn’t so crazy after all. The International Society of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine (ISPPM) considers pregnancy to be a period of continuous and active dialogue between the prenatal child, mother, and the mother’s psycho-social environment.
A baby’s emotional tone is set before birth – as are most of their senses. In fact, all the baby’s senses are developed by the time they reach 23 weeks in gestation. For example, consider that active listening typically occurs by week 24 in the womb. Hearing is the most developed by of the baby’s senses before birth. Emotional involvement and expression may reveal themselves as early as week 10. By week 28 the cortex of the brain is developed enough for thinking. Research suggests that from 6 months onward the pre-born baby shows awareness and is influenced by the external world.
A strong emotional attachment in pregnancy may help boost immunity, prevent diseases and even enhance a child’s IQ. Eliminating stress in your pregnancy is important to the baby’s developing brain. This highlights the strong connection between the mind, body and emotions in the uterus and in everyday life.
Here are some great ways to connect with your unborn child.
Talk to Your Baby. Be positive. Read out loud. This will impact your mood and relax you as well. Some studies show that at 6 months in the womb, a baby can move to the rhythm of the mother’s speech – some were even taught when to kick.
Play. Respond to your baby’s kicks. Gently poke the spot, have a laugh, enjoy connecting even in the smallest ways.
Take naps. Stay rested. Meditate. This will reduce stress and keep you feeling positive and refreshed.
Connect. Reach out to other moms to be, get online, join a support group, talk to your friends. Feeling supported and understood will keep you feeling happy and avoid feelings of isolation.
Sing. Your baby will learn to recognise your voice. It can be soothing for them and might be uplifting for you.
Play music. Learn what your baby likes. Some studies found that babies showed greater signs of agitation by rock music, kicking violently when they heard a stronger beat and were calmed by classical music. One study saw kicking babies calm to the sounds of Vivaldi and become agitated to classic Beethoven. Find what works!
Get the family involved – getting your partner and the baby’s siblings involved will create a warm and supportive environment.
Be creative. Take time to develop in your new role as a mother with prenatal yoga, art, prenatal meditation, writing or cooking. This will reduce stress and increase your confidence.
Have a good attitude. Some researchers believe that there is a connection between how a mother thinks and how the pre-born baby feels. It is thought that the baby shares the mother’s emotions via the hormones associated with them.
So do what it takes to stay happy, calm and celebrate the life growing inside of you.