Stress already in the womb?

The unborn gets a lot more than we think. Misfortune, fear or anger, but also feelings of happiness - the little one escapes so fast. Increases, for example, the blood pressure or the heartbeat of the mother are increasingly secreted hormones or adrenaline, which receives the baby via the umbilical cord. The course of pregnancy thus plays an important role. Everything that happens to the child in the nine months to the birth also affects the child's personality and lifestyle.

Course of pregnancy affects child

"Lifetime in the womb is the source of health and disease" - this is how the US physiologist Peter Nathanielsz describes a phenomenon that is increasingly fascinating physicians and psychologists: "Fetal Programming". Already in the womb, the course for the physical and mental health of the child could be set - possibly under the influence of maternal hormones. Studies that show more details are in progress at the moment. But one thing is certain: development in the womb is more important than most people can imagine.

Fetal Programming

"Fetal Programming" is a relatively new branch of medicine and means as much as imprinting lifelong disease predispositions in the womb. Never again in life does man grow as fast as in the womb. Therefore, disturbances during pregnancy can influence the later state of health, such as the risk of developing obesity, diabetes mellitus or arteriosclerosis.

What scientists initially suspect could be proven by clinical studies: Who is malnourished in the womb, whose health may be threatened for life. For example, if a baby is very small after birth, it is often because the mother was malnourished or starving during pregnancy. Studies also indicate that too much stress in pregnancy can cause increased stress sensitivity throughout the child's life.

Traces in the brain

More and more research indicates that severe stress during pregnancy can leave lasting traces in the brain of the unborn child. Researchers found that stress hormones released by the mother in distressing situations can enter the unborn child's metabolism and affect the developing brain of the unborn child. Not without consequences: prenatal stress can permanently affect the body's stress regulation.

German tanks, which rolled over the Netherlands during the Second World War, still show unimagined effects decades later - among those who were in the womb in May 1940. The children who were still unborn at the time of the lightning invasion suffered more often in their later life from diabetes, hypertension and schizophrenia.

Babies feel with

Fear, anger, rejection and stress have a negative effect on the development of children. For example, when the heartbeat of the mother accelerates due to stress, the child's heart also doubles only a short time later. Strong fears or stress during pregnancy make children too small or too early to be born.

But not every excitement in pregnancy must necessarily be harmful to the child. Stress that does little harm does not harm the unborn child. Another consolation is that a happy early childhood in a loving family can heal many wounds.

What does the unborn baby good?

Already after conception the expectant life begins to adjust to the life with the mother and responds to the influences to which it is exposed. The calmer, more balanced, and happier the expectant mother is, the more favorable are the developmental conditions for the unborn child, because security begins already in the womb. Affectionate affection and the mother's anticipation of the unborn child translate positively to the child.

By the sixth month at the latest, the unborn will feel vibrations, pressure, and temperature, such as when the mother puts her hand on her stomach. So the mother can have a very direct influence on the soul life of her child. A calm and normal heartbeat of the mother promotes sleep, as well as gentle music or conversation between the mother and the baby, who can already perceive the unborn child. Signals, noise and annoying music unleash an opposite reaction.


In summary, it can be said that a mother can transfer stress to her child or consciously protect her from too much stress. Internal security, the ability to argue, but above all contentment and inner balance can strengthen the unborn child. Too much stressful stimuli affects the child in the womb as stress, which can also harm him. The soothing heartbeat of a well-balanced, contented mother looking forward to her child promotes emotional and healthy development. Most important for the child, therefore, is that it feels accepted, loved and desired.

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