Friday, March 9, 2007

What We Do in Pregnancy and Birth Matters

What I see is just the covering
The most important is invisible....
From the Little Prince by
A. de Saint-Exupéry

This question came in this morning and I decided to make it a separate topic.

"implying that children, and adults, are different than they would have been had their mothers had different "experiences." This seems an extraordinary claim. Have you any proof of this?"

Yes, there are ever increasing volumes of proof scientifically, both retrospective and prospective, as well as observational, that lead scientists, researchers, behavioral psychologists, cellular biologists and neurologists to the same conclusion. WHAT WE DO IN PREGNANCY AND BIRTH MATTERS.......AND affects the way we live life.

I will post a comprehensive bibliography on my website in a few days that will give you the actual scientific references. The research in this area has been going on for almost fifty years.

The mind of the child - what are the influences? What are the memories? Do we make decisions at birth and before that effect our relationship with the world?

Memory before 3 years old is intrinsic - always there, present, taking everything in and storing the memory in the brain for future reference. It is on a cellular level, flavoring and coloring all our responses.

Bruce Lipton, PhD, a medical school professor and author, states in his book,
"The Biology of Belief" that humans are not, as was previously believed, victims of our genes, but that the environment and things that go on in our environment, including pregnancy and birth, has a direct effect on our DNA.
He goes on to explain that the activity of cells reacts to the environment, but more specifically, our perception of the environment directly controls the activity of our genes.

Dr. Joe Dispenza, an expert in neuro-biology stated in a recent interview, "There is scientific proof that the mind state of a pregnant mother affects the growth of her baby's brain. Dr. Dispenza elaborated, "A mother who is relaxed and in an environment in which she is able to cope adequately - rather than one that causes her chronic stress - is going to encourage the development of the fetus's forebrain, the area that allows us to reach logical conclusions, control our impulses, and successfully navigate our emotions." Inadequate development of the forebrain has been suggested as a possible explanation for aggressive and anti-social behavior in children, potentially leading to violent behavior, criminal offenses, and higher rates of drug abuse later in life.

Researchers conclude that the mother who is relaxed and free from stress during birth gives birth much more easily, sometimes painlessly and with a totally different attitude. And the baby who is placed on her chest immediately and left there skin to skin for many hours receives a message of love, attention, completeness, welcome and perceives infinite possibilities. Not true for the baby whose mother gives birth in pain, stress, with drugs that the baby also receives, and is immediately separated. A painful or traumatic birth can be overcome with remedial work and an acute awareness of what the baby is trying to communicate after birth.

A stressful, painful birth is not a prescription for psychiatric problems for the rest of ones life, nor is a gentle birth a guarantee that a child will have an easy peaceful life, but.....there is a connection. This connection is virtually ignored by the medical community and is only now being addressed publicly in films, books, and in the press. I'll write more on this topic in future posts. A very good film to watch is, "What Babies Want: A Exploration of the Consciousness of Infants.

Dr. Joe Dispenza, famed neurologist featured in the film, What the Bleep Do We Know,
will lead a presentation that addresses the biology of the infant mind at the first Gentle Birth World Congress and Whole Baby Expo, September 27 – 30, 2007, at the Portland, Oregon Convention Center.


Katie DiBenedetto said...

Hello Barbara - I really enjoyed this post! I just discovered your blog today and I enjoyed everything you have written. I love how you stated "A stressful, painful birth is not a prescription for psychiatric problems for the rest of ones life, nor is a gentle birth a guarantee that a child will have an easy peaceful life, but.....there is a connection." I appreciate all of your examples, quotes, facts and how you are never bullying or judging. I am training to become a birth & postpartum doula. When the time comes for me to have a child I plan on having a midwife and a doula and giving birth either in a birth center or at home. But I do not hold anything against women who simply feel more comfortable in a hospital. That's what I have always enjoyed about you. It's not like you are putting down women who choose to give birth in a hospital with drugs or other interventions. You are simply presenting another option. I appreciate hospitals and obstetricians in high risk siuations...but not for the normal, natural event that most births are. I wish that going to the hospital was rare, and that women only went to a hospital if it was medically neccessary. I used to be "in the dark" about pregnancy, labor, birth and beyond. All I knew was what I saw on TV or in the movies or heard from other women (mainly not-so-great experiences). Then I picked up your book "Gentle Birth Choices" and was deeply moved and affected. Once I become a doula I am hoping to be an advocate for gentle birth, especially for water birth. I hope to help other women take control of their birth experiences and arm them with knowledge and confidence. I watched the DVD "Gentle Birth Choices" with my husband and we were both so moved by it. Thank you Barbara for all that you have done, and continue to do! -Katie (

Michawn said...

Hi Barbara,
Wow. I just got a comment from you on my blog. At first I was like "who is this?" Then I realized who you are. :-) Amazing and so incredible that you are offering to help us. But, how in the world did you find my blog? Did you do some sort of search just using a tag line or something? Just curious. Thanks so much!!
Michawn @ Michawn's Meanderings

Peter, Sarah, Kyla, and Avery said...

Hello Barbara! Thank you for leaving the comment on my family's blog, "REFLECTIONS". I just received my provisional license to teach Bradley® classes and also feel the calling to become a midwife. I have applied to New Life International School of Midwifery and I know your book, "Gentle Birth Choices", is required reading. So, I bought the book in an attempt to start my reading a little ahead of schedule and love it! I agree with everything you state in the book. I'm looking forward to watching the DVD as well.
I guess if I am supposed to become a midwife I will get accepted into New Life and then receive the donations necessary to attend the school as a missionary midwifery student.
Thanks for all you do to promote natural childbirth! I have 2 girls, both very different birth experiences. My youngest was born at home ALMOST in the water (I got out of the tub at 10cm to use the bathroom and I never made it back in the water in time!). Laboring in water was an incredible experience in and of itself though :-)

vbacwarrior said...

Hi Barbara. I just found your blog today. This post is wonderful. How were are born DOES matter. Just as we shouldn't (and don't) throw the dying into a box to hurry along death, so we shouldn't reach in and yank babies out of their mothers to hurry along birth.

Anonymous said...

It was rather interesting for me to read the blog. Thank author for it. I like such topics and anything that is connected to this matter. I would like to read a bit more on that blog soon.

Anonymous said...

Pretty nice place you've got here. Thanx for it. I like such themes and anything that is connected to them. I would like to read a bit more soon.