“There is no period of parenthood with a more direct and formative effect on the child’s developing brain than the nine months of pregnancy leading to the birth of a full term baby”. By Marian Diamond

Hundreds of studies show the vulnerability of the unborn child because of its sensitivity, impressionability and ability to relate to the mothers’ emotional and physical state. The nutritional state as well as every thought and action of the mother gives rise to hormones and other biochemicals that create a pleasurable or incoherent fetal environment.

Dr Lester W. Sontag, in studying pregnant women during WWII was the first to make us aware of the effects on the fetus of maternal anxiety. During pregnancy, the effects of chronic stress give rise to elevated adrenalin and cortisol levels which are passed onto the fetus, with the consequence often of irritable babies who are hyperactive. The adrenalin from the mother increases the fetal heart rate while cortisol acts on the brain, preventing some of the dendritic branches and spines of the nerve cells from forming as well as reducing the number of neurons. Babies that are exposed to high stress levels in-utero exhibit reduced resistance to disease and could have sleep and feeding disorders. In extreme cases normal development could be retarded with as much as 60%. Stress devours nutrients that are needed for the optimal development and growth of the baby.

Stress in pregnancy leads to increased blood pressure, sending more blood to the mother’s big muscles for fight or flight while shunting blood away from the developing baby. This lack of blood to the baby squeezes of as much as 60% of the oxygen and nutrient supply e.g. Neuro transmitters.

A new born baby’s central nervous system has few synaptic links between neurons. Complex synaptic links develop later in life especially during the first seven years. The more the sensory system (the receptors) is stimulated, the more synaptic links develop. It is during these first seven years that nutrition is of the utmost importance to ensure the building blocks for the different syntheses.

It is of the utmost importance to expose the unborn baby to sensory integration therapy. Sensory integration is the ability of the brain to organize, process, and integrate sensory stimuli. During sensory integration therapy on the unborn child the focus is to stimulate the formation of the maximum number of synaptic links as possible. When this therapy is done in utero, the entire central nervous system functions more effectively during later development and leaves the baby with a distinct learning advantage in later life.

It is however true those babies are born into the world with a backlog – already in the womb this potential harmony is disturbed by the diet of the mother – not intentionally but by the intake of the available food.

The food industry today prides itself in the fact that it is able to provide technologically developed and refined food to the nations –moving away from naturally grown foods, resulting in the intake of large amounts of anti-nutrients with decreasing nutritional value. Even the water that is available to drink contains non-natural chemicals to ensure purity, palatability and at the same time pollute the body of the pregnant mother.

These unborn babies may be our future leaders! The question therefore arises whether this issue is addressed at any Wellness Centre in the world or at all?