Congratulations on your pregnancy and welcome to the wonderful world of expectant mothers. You will soon discover all the amazing ways in which your body changes and adapts to harboring a brand new, tiny little life (or several, if you’re carrying twins!) inside of it. The journey you have embarked upon is unlike anything you’ve ever been through thus far, and while it might often appear scary and filled with the unexpected, chances are, we believe, that you will soon learn to love it for all it’s worth.
Now, it’s no secret that expecting mothers are often on what has been described (quite aptly, might we add) as a rollercoaster of emotions and other mental and psychological tribulations. We are here to tell you that psychology and development experts the world over have proven it is absolutely normal to experience an entire and complex gamut of conflicting emotions, caused by the hormonal changes that the week by week pregnancy experience has brought into your life. At the same time, however, you should know that these changes can, will and do affect your baby. How? Read on?
Angry Mommy, Angry Baby
According to the top authority in the field, the APA (also known as the American Psychologists Association), anger is one of the strongest emotion you can subject your body to. Of course, some anger is absolutely normal, human and understandable, but when it spirals out of control, it transforms your body to unpredictable extents. It has been proven that being angry causes us to perspire, our levels of energy hormones (namely adrenaline and epinephrine) to sky-rocket and our blood vessels to constrict. Smoking and alcohol consumption also cause constriction to the blood vessels, and we all know how damaging these can be to the baby. When the blood vessels are constricted, the number one problem experienced in the womb is that not enough oxygen reaches the uterus. Without a sufficient amount of oxygen, the baby cannot survive and develop properly.
Happiness Is a Warm Blankie
The vast majority of psychologists will agree that anger has such damaging effects because we have all been taught by society for a long time now that it is a negative emotion, which must be suppressed at all costs. As such, whenever we have an emotional outburst or anger crisis, the effects are long lasting and severe on our bodies. Happiness, on the other hand, although much more desirable, does not affect the fetus to the same extent. This is not to say that babies cannot feel their mothers’ happiness while in the womb, but simply that they are not as dramatic as with anger. However, happiness in the mother has proven to be extremely conducive to proper fetal development, with as much as 5% fewer birth defects occurring in babies whose mothers reported being happy while expecting.
Keep Calm and Enjoy Your Body
According to esteemed psychologist Dr. Miriam Stoppard, who has written several famous books on pregnancy and other health care-related topics, babies understand and experience their mothers emotion in full, even during the earliest stages of their development in the womb. According to Dr. Stoppard, not only do fetuses feel and react to stimuli coming in from the outside world, but they are also skilled, so to speak, at picking up their mothers’ emotions, since those emotions cause changes in one’s blood stream. The chemicals released into your blood as your emotions shift pass through the placenta and then reach the baby, in a complex process which only lasts a matter of a few seconds. This is why an overall state of level and calm is highly recommended (albeit not always completely achievable) during pregnancy.