What is happening in the womb? Through many windows of observation, we can now see—for the first time in human history—what is actually happening in the womb.
It has both good and bad effect.We can no longer think that the placenta can protect the prenate from anything bad going on in the mother’s body, or that the mother’s body can protect the prenate from bad things going on in her world.
Mother and baby face together the perils of air, water and earth compromised by the toxic residues of modern chemistry and physics.
Unfortunately, parents are perhaps the last ones to learn—and their children the first ones to suffer—these tragic realities of modern life.
Tragedy of modern life
Pollution has many sources, beginning with the physical environment surrounding the mother and father.
Solvents, metals, pesticides, preservatives, fumes and various forms of radiation are capable of interfering with reproduction. Chemical pollution also reaches us in the medical system through prescribed drugs, which may put the well-being of the prenate at risk.
Some medicines like aspirin are hazardous at birth, as are some powerful anaesthetics. Not long ago, an antibacterial soap used widely in hospitals and dispensed in public areas was discovered–after years of use–to be neurotoxic.
Damages of drugs, alcohol
Parents, too, can be a source of contamination and injury to the unborn baby as a consequence of their personal habits and lifestyle choices.
Drugs thought to be harmless to adults can be harmful to babies because they are not able to handle these chemicals in adult doses. Nicotine, caffeine, and aspirin,—substances ubiquitous in adult life,—can affect the course of growth and development of babies.
Not so well-known, and perhaps not yet even tested, are the toxic effects of experimental “street drugs” which damage parents as well as babies.
All these discoveries are revealing the profound importance of very early parenting, beginning, not at the time of birth, but even before the time of conception when it is still possible to avoid a host of serious problems.
Discovery and demand
An additional reason for parents to begin active parenting at conception is the discovery that babies in the womb are also developing more rapidly than previously thought possible. From the second month of pregnancy, experiments and observations reveal an active prenate with a rapidly developing sensory system permitting exquisite sensitivity and responsiveness.
Long before the development of advanced brain structures, prenates are seen interacting with each other and learning from experience.
Embryos are found to be especially interested in the larger environment provided by mother and father, and react to individual voices, stories, music, and even simple interaction games with parents. The quality of the uterine environment is determined principally by parents.
The opportunities for parents to form a relationship with the baby in the womb are significant and remarkable. This contrasts sharply with the previous view that prenates did not have the capacity to interact, remember, learn, or put meaning to their experiences.
Only a decade ago, doctors typically told pregnant mothers and fathers that talking to a baby in the womb was useless and unrealistic. Now there is mounting evidence for memory and learning in utero and for precocious communication before the stage of language.
These abilities of unborn babies underlie the successes reported in a series of scientific experiments with prenatal stimulation and bonding. They are also a basis for the personal stories occasionally shared by children and adults about their experiences before birth.
Old concept and new advice
Before trying to conceive, talk to your health professional about any medications or dietary supplements you are taking. Many seemingly safe medications are actually dangerous during pregnancy. For example, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may increase your risk of miscarriage, especially at the time of conception or when used for more than a week.
Start taking a vitamin-mineral supplement. Taking a daily vitamin supplement with 0.4 mg (400 ug) of folic acid before becoming pregnant reduces the chance of having a baby with a neural tube defect.
If you have a family history of neural tube defects or you have had a previous infant with a neural tube defect, take a daily supplement containing 4 mg (4000 ug) of folic acid. Other vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, are also necessary for your health and that of your baby.
Cut out junk food and eat a balanced diet. Pregnancy is not the time to lose weight. If you want to lose weight, do it before becoming pregnant. Don’t go on a crash diet, because you may end up with a nutritional deficiency that could be harmful to you or the baby.
Get a thorough physical check-up. If any problems or needs are found, deal with them early.
Make sure you are fully immunized to prevent potential fetal harm. For example, if you have never had German measles (rubella) or the rubella vaccination or are unsure, tell your health professional.
If a blood test shows that you have no immunity, you can be vaccinated. You must then wait at least 3 months after being vaccinated before you become pregnant.
As a part of your physical check-up, you may want to ask for a pre-pregnancy exam. Such an exam can help determine any risks to you or your potential children from pregnancy. This knowledge may help you decide whether you wish to see a family medicine doctor or midwife for your care during pregnancy or whether you require the care of a specialist. It may also help you decide what tests you want to have done during pregnancy.
Also, have any necessary fillings or other dental work done before you become pregnant. If you have periodontal (gum) disease, have it treated before becoming pregnant.
Periodontal disease during pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk for developing preeclampsia.
Finally, you and your spouse or partner may want to be screened for potential genetic problems, such as sickle cell disease if you are of African descent or Tay-Sachs disease if you are of Jewish-European or French-Canadian descent.
About the author: Chockalingam Eswaramurthi is featured writer of Articlesgratuits.com. He is a Singaporean professional writer dedicated to sharing the knowledge on topics of public interest. Reach him through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.