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The following is a guest post by Laurel Wilson, IBCLC, CLE, CLD and Tracy Wilson Peters, CLE, CCCE, CLD, authors of the bestselling book The Greatest Pregnancy Ever.
You are your child’s first teacher. From the moment of conception, your baby is enrolled in the university of life. Every experience you have during pregnancy is designed to teach your baby about the world he will soon encounter. All of the information your baby receives from you in the womb serves as a special lesson plan for adapting to his new world.
Remember, you are teaching your baby about your world throughout pregnancy, because your baby is eavesdropping on your emotions all the time. This emotional connection between you and your baby is the basis for the prenatal bond and is the beginning of the school of life.
Contrary to popular belief, the bond between you and your baby begins well before birth. This bond starts early in pregnancy and is made possible because your placenta acts as a highly advanced communication device between you and your baby. When you experience emotions, messenger molecules pulse through your body.
For example, if you feel anxiety, your heart rate increases, your adrenaline spikes and you move into a state of fight or flight. Your body begins producing cortisol, the stress hormone. When you’re stressed, your baby is stressed.
The March of Dimes reports that chronic stress in pregnancy can lead to health problems, such as preterm delivery and high blood pressure. Chronic stress in pregnancy can also lead to a baby who cries more, sleeps less, and is anxious. The good news is that while you cannot avoid stress altogether, you can learn tools to manage and reduce stress. Additionally, when you experience loving and compassionate emotions, you are creating a healthier womb environment. Less stress leads to healthier development for your baby.
This unique communication between you and your baby is how your baby’s emotional intelligence is formed. When you have a loving thought, your baby experiences love. When you feel joyful, he encounters joy. When you are angry, he perceives anger. It is an amazing process designed to give your baby the opportunity to develop a healthy emotional life that matches the emotional tone of your family.
The realization that you are your child’s first teacher can empower you to make better choices. These choices can include practicing stress reduction techniques, developing healthier relationships, eating healthy foods, and practicing conscious decision-making. You have the power to change the world when you choose to teach your baby lessons of love during pregnancy.
Simple ways to reduce stress:
1. Smile. Schedule time to do activities that increase your joy with people who make you feel good.
2. Meditate or Pray. Participate in activities that help you to feel calm and centered, like meditating in the garden or taking time to pray.
3. Move Your Body. Movement is one of the best ways to remove stress from your body. Take a walk. Go swimming. Try prenatal yoga.
4. Practice Deep Breathing Techniques. Slow your breathing. Try and count to four while you inhale and count to eight as you exhale. Do this for several minutes when you feel stressed.
5. Take a Daily Nap. Napping for just 15 minutes a day has direct health benefits and reduces stress levels immensely!
Authors and real pregnancy experts Tracy Wilson Peters, CCCE, CLE, CLD and Laurel Wilson, IBCLC, CLE, CCCE, CLD have written the Amazon bestselling book The Greatest Pregnancy Ever, which teaches expectant mothers how to transform their pregnancy through thought, awareness, and consciousness.