Take Time to Relax
Your mood -- reflected in such physical signs as your heart rate, hormonal levels, and breathing pattern -- influences your baby-to-be. Just sitting quietly or focusing on your breathing is a way to de-stress and connect. "If you can relax, you'll have a different mix of hormones in your blood," explains Peter Nathanielsz, M.D., Ph.D., a Cornell University researcher and the author of Life in the Womb: The Origins of Health and Disease (Promethean Press). Marcey Bergman, a Chicago mother of three, believes her youngest was such an easy baby partly because she was put on bed rest for her final month of pregnancy. "I was calmer," she says, "and the baby probably sensed that."
Christiane Northrup, M.D., an ob-gyn and author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom (Bantam), has often watched a baby's heartbeat on the fetal monitor slow down after the mother relaxed during labor. "As the mom became centered, her steady, calm heartbeat let her baby know that all was well," she says.
Take time out to reflect on the person growing inside you. "In the classes I teach on prenatal bonding, I ask expectant parents to close their eyes and try to sense their baby," Dr. Luminare-Rosen says. "Those miniature movements in the mother's belly help parents get better acquainted with someone they've already fallen in love with."
Copyright © 2001 Diane Goldner. Reprinted with permission from the February 2001 issue of Parents magazine.