Prenatal Development – Movements and Relationship

A bubbling, fluttering sensation or a movement that is no different from hunger – there are several ways to describe a baby’s first movements in the belly. Many women feel the first movements between week 16 and 25 and a couple of weeks later the baby’s activities can be described as kicking or pushing.

  •  The first movements in the womb are an expression of early neural activity.
  • An 8-10 week old baby moves spontaneously, and the movements are a preparation for neonatal activity and for birth.
  • A baby’s regular movements can be sign of a healthy baby.

Environment in the Womb

A child’s behaviour begins to develop before birth, the environment in the womb influences and changes an unborn baby’s behaviour. Previously, it was assumed that the first months was characterised by an influence related to genetic or biological factors.

Today, it is acknowledged that what a mother eats and does during the pregnancy may affect her child. A mother can in many different ways provide her unborn child with the best possible start.

In 1989, the physician David Barker suggested that there was a link between poor maternal nutrition and a risk for the child developing heart disease decades later. These kinds of relationships cannot be experimentally tested for ethical and practical reasons, and there is only a correlation between a mother’s lifestyle and her child’s health. But the idea that nurture begins in the womb was born.

Reciprocal Relationship

The idea that parents can influence their children’s behaviour and that children influence their parents’ behaviour has previously not been applied to the period in the womb.

  • Research suggests that not only does the mother influence her baby’s development but also that the relationship is reciprocal.
  • A mother influences her baby and an unborn baby influences her mother.
  •  There is a possibility that the changes that occurs during pregnancy prepares a mother of parenthood.
  • A baby moves approximately once every minute during the last couple of months in the womb, but a mother may only feel as few as 16 per cent of these movements.
  • When a baby moves in the womb, his mother receives a signal in her nervous system.
  •  This signal is below her conscious awareness, and the expectant mother is not aware that her baby has moved.
  • Nevertheless, the relationship is reciprocal and when a baby moves a pregnant woman’s’ nervous system reacts and the heart races etc.

Please, Pay Attention

A baby moves when he is awake or asleep, and he is extending his body, moving his head, face and limbs. Touch is important and a baby touches himself frequently, he may move his hand to the face, or touch his feet.

It is possible that a baby is making sure that her mother pays attention to her later in life. A newborn baby is in many ways helpless and dependent upon other people’s care. What better way than to start practising in the womb.

Photo: Pregnant Mother Holding Teddy Bear by Stuart Miles

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