In a recent op-ed column in the NY Times, Nicholas Kristof explores recent research that suggests the period we all spend in the womb has a critical impact on our level of physical, emotional and mental well-being throughout our lives.
“The result is children who start life at a disadvantage — for kids facing stresses before birth appear to have lower educational attainment, lower incomes and worse health throughout their lives. If that’s true, then even early childhood education may be a bit late as a way to break the cycles of poverty.”
This is another example of research finding what many have figured was already intuitive. In a period of time when our brains and mental models of the world are being formed a stressful environment will have an impact on how we react to life later on.
It’s so easy during the time of pregnancy to forget how impactful that time is to the child within.
So what can we do?
There’s been a wave of interest in mindfulness-based childbirth and parenting (MBCP) founded by Nancy Bardacke, RN which aims to help parents and the growing baby during pregnancy and through childbirth. Larissa Duncan, PhD conducted a recent pilot study that suggests that pregnant women who take part in MBCP experience reductions in anxiety, depression, and increases in positive emotion and mindfulness, of course.
It’s important to consider that the way women relate to themselves during pregnancy and the way the rest of us relate to pregnant women can have a significant impact on future generations.
Resiliency starts in the womb and the more awareness we can foster around the better off this world may be in the years to come.
As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.
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Last reviewed: 10 Oct 2010