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A child’s genetic predispositions are determined by both Mom and Dad when the sperm and egg get together. How well the baby develops after conception and its strength of various body systems is affected by what is done while pregnant. It will determine how well the child functions and thrives. There are things that are beyond our control and I am not suggesting that a mother has to be “perfect” during pregnancy to have a healthy baby; that is just not possible. What I am encouraging Mom to do is to realize that it is not all about just you anymore, you must consider the developing child in your womb every day!
Physical stress, emotional stress and normal life stress will be picked up by that little human being as well. We cannot avoid the stresses of life but we can be more aware of them and how they can affect the developing child.
Sleep: As the child is developing, mother needs to pay close attention to her physical needs for sleep. Millions of things are taking place in your body simultaneously and may require you get more sleep. Sometimes it is in the first trimester when they feel exhausted and after a few weeks, their energy comes back again. Then women feel great for several weeks and then they get tired again. I remember being pregnant and all of a sudden, I would get so sleepy that I could not keep my eyes open! A short power nap during the day can make you feel refreshed and energetic. It is real important that you listen to your body and understand that you are using a ton of energy to make the baby! If you are at work, try to sneak off for your lunch and get a 10 minute snooze, it will help you get through the day. Dad’s need to understand that his woman’s body is going through many changes and she may not feel like being intimate, she may feel sensitive and emotional at times. No two women are alike so there is no right or wrong feelings. The key is communication and respect for the new and changing situation. When you are pregnant, it is not the time to tackle remodeling your basement or taking on something that will be physically demanding. Sometimes we are required to do major projects but just be sure to listen to your body.
Food: It is a good habit to have healthy snacks around throughout the day while at work or at home. Your requirements will increase a bit so healthy snacks of nuts, dried fruits or veggies during the day will keep blood sugar balanced and also keep your engines running. You are not eating for two as many people believe but it will require more nutrition and as you get bigger, you may get full faster, eating smaller meals because baby is taking up room! My midwife told me that the first person I need to feed each meal is the baby! I was sure to eat a good source of protein, colorful vegetables and if I was in the mood for something sweet, I was sure to eat it only after a good meal! See Healthy Pregnancy Diet & Foods Not to Eat When Pregnant.
Regardless of your situation, your baby is a blessing! Yes, even in unplanned pregnancy, marital problems and divorces, financial hardship and other inconvenient situations, your baby must be seen as a blessing. Remember, it is not the fault of the unborn child that it may be born at a time less desirable for mother or father. I encourage you to talk to your baby daily, take time to massage your growing belly and say nice things to the baby. They can feel your emotions, especially anger and hurt. A child needs to feel welcome and loved even while in the womb. We now know so much about the role of emotional health and happiness in life.
Think about your own life: Have you felt abandonment? Have you been rejected and hurt by a parent? I believe we all have dealt with some sort of emotional pain in life and your baby will also have to deal with these things. To know we are loved by our mother and father is the most important emotion to a child. Motherhood is an awesome responsibility; we can either encourage our babies or discourage them by our attitudes toward them. See your unborn child as a precious gift! Try to eliminate as much emotional stress from life while you are carrying them.
Your Baby is Depending on You!
The first environment for the baby is the womb. The latest information concerning toxic exposures for the unborn are shocking; according to The Environmental Working Group (EWG) a study showed an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in umbilical cord blood. Tests revealed a total of 287 chemicals in the group. Of these 180 cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to brains and nervous systems, 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests. The chemicals included heavy metals, especially mercury, eight perfluorochemicals used as stain and oil repellants in fast food packaging, clothes, and textiles (including the Teflon chemical PFOA), dozens of widely used brominated flame retardants and their toxic by-products, and numerous pesticides. See What to Avoid When Pregnant.
Developing children are very venerable to these exposures. It is no surprise that we now have a generation of children born with signs of autism and neurological problems. The results of these exposures pound for pound are much greater for fetuses. They have immature, porous blood-brain barriers, which cannot protect them while developing, lower levels of some chemical-binding proteins, allowing more of a chemical to reach “target organs,” they are rapidly developing several organs at the same time, which are under the orchestration of the nervous system, they do not have detoxification abilities in place, making them more susceptible to harm, and after they are born they must live a whole lifetime in a toxic world. Currently, the world attitude about motherhood is not very encouraging. Children are often treated like inconveniences and are not made the priority. It is difficult with the pressures of working mothers to keep it all in balance but your baby will only be little for a short time.
Do all that you can to nurture and protect your unborn child. Speak loving words and cherish the 9 months you have that child intimately to yourself. Motherhood is the most precious and important calling in a woman’s’ life so….. embrace it!