How can you best support the baby's growth and development during the pregnancy? Do your thoughts and feelings affect the baby? Pregnancy is a time of preparation, a time of many changes both inside and outside. Whether circumstances around the pregnancy are joyful or difficult, personally, socially or physically, it's a good time to make a fresh start, and to open oneself to the new relationship you will have with your child, with yourself (especially if this is your first child) and with the world. If it is possible, it can be of immense value both for you and the baby if you begin to cultivate reverence for what is happening and for who is to come. It often happens quite naturally that a feeling of profound awe wells up when we are confronted with the miracle of life. Or, it comes when you go for nature walks and think of the growing baby as you see beautiful things, as you look at beautiful artwork of mother and child, sing lullabies as you muse on the baby, or think of the child as you make something for them.

In traditions of ancient India, China, Arabia and other cultures around the world, pregnant women were surrounded with beautiful things and fine clothing. They were taught the arts of music, singing and painting, and fed exquisite foods blessed by the holy men. They were surrounded by beauty, music and were to think of goodness. This was believed to bring the unborn child talent and beauty. In Russia and ancient Asian countries, concerts were organized for pregnant women and their unborn children. In ancient China and India, women drew birds and plants during pregnancy and sang beautiful, gentle songs to their unborn babies. In some countries, it was not permitted to argue with a pregnant woman, and if it was inevitable, she was to have the last word! In other countries, the pregnant woman's behaviour was believed to affect the unborn baby, so they were to refrain from any cruelty or bad thoughts, and were to be protected from any trauma or shock.

It has long been known, and studies show, that the mother's emotional state and surroundings have a profound effect on the unborn child's health and development, as do the mother's thoughts towards the father, the pregnancy and the child. Any stress or strong emotion in the mother creates a reaction in the growing baby,[1] while a soothing activity such as singing to the baby has the effect of calming the mother, and so the baby, and increasing the blood flow in her body as well as the flow to the baby.

In our hectic world, it is all the more important that expectant mothers find ways to reduce stress and encourage a healthy and quiet inner life for themselves to counter the pressures of modern life. So, there may be wisdom in following the ancient traditions of the mother surrounding herself and filling her thoughts with goodness, calm and beauty. The more loving, gentle and calm you and those around you can be, the more you and the father cherish one another, the better for you and the baby.

       ‘The marvels of life before birth are worth pondering. Whether one believes that the program that drives our development in the uterus is the result of immutable physical and chemical laws or that it expresses the divine concern of a benign spiritual power there is little doubt that "we are fearfully and wonderfully made." I look forward to a time (...) when Life Before Birth is understood and cherished for all its wonder...’

Peter W. Nathanielsz [3]


Lifestyle, habits and stress


The negative effects of media


How the Mother's Emotions Affect the Baby Before Birth - Samuels and Samuels

Fetus to Mom: You're Stressing Me Out! - Web M.D.

Good Beginnings - Lee Lozowick


[1] Samuels, Mike, MD, and Nancy Samuels. The Well Baby Book. Summit Books, New York 1991

[2] Odent, Michel MD, Bien naître, Éditions du Seuil, Paris, France, 1977 Page 72

[3] Nathanielsz, Peter W., M.D., Ph.D. Life Before Birth and A Time to be Born. Promethean Press, Ithica, New York, 1992 Page 220

Hope II by Gustav Klimt


‘Lullabies are as old as the earth, as old as man’s suffering and mother’s love. They speak a language that goes beyond notes. A language that came before Babel. They do not belong to any religion, any culture, or any race.

They speak the language of that country without borders called the human heart. This is why babies understand them. This is why all women knew how to sing them.

We no longer sing in our times. Machines do it for us. Or superstars. Women must learn to sing again. Even if only to rock their baby.’ [2]

Arearea (detail) by Paul Gaugin