Category Archives: Prenatal stimulation

Stop the comparisons: every pregnancy is a one-in-a-lifetime experience

You might find yourself comparing your belly to that of your also expecting friends or, if you already have children and you go through familiar terrain, you find yourself noticing the differences between your present experience and your last pregnancy. You may be wondering why this baby seems to kick a lot more, when the other made gentler nudges. You might also be asking yourself why your belly is higher or lower than your pregnant friend or why you are not getting that mango with black pepper craving that you underwent with your first child. Remember that just as every child is unique, the same is true for every pregnancy! There are lots of factors that contribute to women experiencing different pregnancies, like previous experiences, genetics, and lifestyles. In the end, your baby bump is not an indicator of what truly matters: how healthy your baby is. If your doctor is at ease, be assured that a few differences between this pregnancy and the last one or someone else’s is perfectly normal.

It’s been said that children get special perks and developmental advantages thanks to the interaction with their siblings. But, did you know that this holds true even for their lives inside the womb? Researchers from the Department of Maternal and Child Health at Johns Hopkins University have found that second and subsequent babies can develop a greater motor experience in utero, and therefore become more active infants. This happens because babies start exploring their surroundings early on. It’s been documented that during the last trimester they lick the uterine wall and start walking around in the womb by pushing with their feet. After the first pregnancy, your uterus is bigger and the umbilical cord is longer, so your next baby has more space to move!

My baby’s developing reflexes

Although your baby is still comfortably growing inside your womb, he is already developing some automatic behaviors and sensory responses that will help him interact with the world during the first four or five months after been born. These capacities are called “newborn reflexes” and while some of them will occur spontaneously as part of your baby’s daily life, others will only appear as a response to specific actions or stimuli.

According to Stanford Children’s Health there are a couple newborn reflexes that are already being rehearsed in-utero:
• Root reflex: it helps the baby find the breast or the bottle immediately after birth. When something touches the baby’s cheek, he will turn his head in the direction of the touch, searching for a food source, and begin sucking.
• Suck reflex: this is the baby’s response to anything that touches the roof of his mouth. Is because of this reflex that babies bring their feet to their mouth and start sucking a toe.
• Grasp reflex: when you touch the palm of a baby’s hand, the baby responds by closing his hand in a grasp around your finger.
• Step reflex: when a baby is held upright with his feet touching a solid surface, he will start taking steps as if dancing.

By week 32 of your pregnancy, your baby will have developed these reflexes that will be very handy once he is born. In the ultrasound you might even catch your little baby sucking his thumb, which will bring an “adorableness-overload” reflex in you, but that’s a topic for another blog post…

Prenatal stimulation: the importance of finding the right fit for you

Lately, many prenatal blogs and social media posts seem to be raving about the benefits of using a more direct and active stimulation for the baby while in-utero, in an attempt to give them a jumpstart in early development. There are many ideas and programs out there addressing this, and it’s important to choose one that’s both science-based and you are comfortable with.

There’s a good amount of research supporting prenatal stimulation methods like storytelling, playing ambient music and going outside to get some sunlight, since these are fun and easy activities that your baby and you can share during your pregnancy.

On the other hand, there are some stimulation schedules that might not fit in your agenda or that might be a bit too invasive for the baby, like poking your belly every day at regular intervals or directing a sound amplifier at your abdomen several hours a day to play music. When it comes to prenatal stimulation, the truth is that scientists agree that you shouldn’t follow the mantra “the more, the better”. Instead it’s best to be selective in your choosing. Despite it being done with the best of intentions, directing loud music or lights to the womb all day long may alter your baby’s natural sleep patterns. And fitting a 6-hours a day intrauterine stimulation schedule might stress you out a bit.

It’s great that you want to engage and stimulate your baby early on. There are many available resources, programs, and activities designed specifically to foster your baby’s development during this nine months, like the ones that Kinedu proposes. So, don’t worry if you missed your baby’s daily Mozart hour because you grabbed some tea with your friends, or if you’ve grown tired of playing that French audiobook over and over, even though your cousin said that would make it easier for your child to be polyglot in the future. The most important thing for your baby’s is that you strive for a healthy and happy prenatal environment in which you feel content and excited as this will allow you to engage more with your little one.

My baby’s brain and me

“Behavior doesn’t begin at birth, it begins before and develops in predictable ways.”
Janet DiPietro, Department of Maternal and Child Health, Johns Hopkins University

Did you know that your baby’s brain develops faster during your 40 weeks of pregnancy than at any other moment of her life? That’s just how perfect your womb is at fostering development!

In fact, by the third trimester of your pregnancy, scientists have found that your baby girl experiences the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep that is characteristic of dreaming states, and they speculate that babies dream of what they know: the sensations they feel in the womb, the vibrations of your heart and voice. Although it’s true that your baby spends 90 or 95% of the time sleeping, there’s a lot going on during this beauty slumber!

Babies not only recognize and remember their mother’s voice, they learn patterns too! Newborns have been found to prefer stories that were repeated to them when in the womb, compared to stories introduced to them after birth. They also prefer the sound of their mom’s voice when she speaks her native language than when she pronounces foreign words. So yes, your unborn baby knows you so well that she knows when you are doing something different like singing that Shakira song in Spanish! Psychologists assert that this doesn’t mean that your baby is going to be born ready to learn Chinese, but that she is just responding to the rhythm cues of the sounds that surround her.

So, while you wait excitedly through this last trimester, you can already marvel at all the amazing feats your baby is achieving, like listening, learning, remembering, and finding reassurance in your presence.

Bonding with your little one

You’ve probably heard a thousand times that there’s nothing like the bond that forms between a mom and her baby. That special bond is created and strengthened by their interactions. It’s been proven that this bond has certain “protective” qualities for your little girl. Numerous studies support that some of the outcomes of a successful mother-daughter bond are:
• Children are more able to establish healthy relationships
• Reduces the risk of learning or academic difficulties
• Reduces the risk of health problems
• Reduces the risk of mental problems
• Reduces the risk of behavioral problems
• Reduces the risk of addictions and substance abuse

So go on and start forming that special bond with your little one during your pregnancy! Although many challenges and worries are present during these nine months, stimulating and creating this connection should be a priority. Many moms feel this connection almost instantly, while others can have a harder time. Always keep in mind your baby has the amazing emotional and intuitive capabilities to sense you and your partner’s love even within the womb.

In the next nine months, you and your baby will move, grow and adapt as one. Your baby kicks and you instinctively rub your belly, your baby moves and you change your position. You’re ultimately more connected than you may think, so much so, that when you hold your little one in your arms for the first time, you’re like old friends finally meeting.

Each time you take a minute and enjoy your baby’s presence and acknowledge her, you are providing a safe and loving environment that your baby picks up and makes her feel wanted and loved. Bonding plays a big role in determining how your baby will learn about the world and how her personality will develop. Use Kinedu to find new and fun ways to strengthen your attachment to your little girl and make sure you’re forming the strongest connection possible!

Your baby remembers

Contrary to popular belief, your baby’s not born as a blank slate but has the ability to remember experiences he lived inside the womb. Studies have shown that newborns react to and remember sounds that they heard in their fetal period. With the proper stimulation, your baby might be able to:
1. Recognize familiar environmental sounds and melodies
2. Discriminate between your native language and others
3. Recognize your voice

Any type of prenatal learning makes it easier for your baby to learn a language during his early years. It’s been stated that your baby may begin his auditory learning as early as week 27. Furthermore, a correlation has been found between your baby’s exposure sounds, particularly speech, and greater brain activity.

This awesome ability your baby has to react and be influenced by the sounds he’s exposed to, is a two-sided coin. It seems likely that there could be adverse prenatal sounds your baby’s subject to which may have harming effects later on. Just like any adult, your baby may quickly become uncomfortable with noisy and disruptive environments.

It’s amazing how something as simple as singing and talking to your baby can help tremendously with his linguistic and cognitive development. Your baby’s favorite sound is without a doubt your voice. Studies suggest that the ability for your newborn to recognize your face is most likely linked to his prenatal learning of your voice (your baby remembers!)

What all this information tells us, beyond the impact on your baby’s language skills, is that he has a tiny brain that has unique learning and memory capabilities. So, now that you know that, regulate your exposure to certain harmful stimuli and nurture your baby with positive sounds while he is still in your womb.

Baby can you hear me?

As a mom, you intuitively discover what scientists have been stating all along, your baby is already a sensitive little girl who day after day is forming a relationship with you. Studies have shown that a baby in the womb can see, hear, feel and, on some very basic level, have a certain level of awareness. With that in mind, psychologists strive and assert that the experience in the womb and birth serve as determinants of personality and future aptitudes.

Aspects such as self-confidence, depression and even addictive behaviors have been remounted to experiences in the womb. Around the fifth month of your pregnancy, your baby can perceive sounds and remember them (your voice included!). The University of California discovered babies remember stories that were repeatedly heard in utero.

Your baby also has periods of wakefulness and sleep such as you. In fact, your baby is most likely absorbing your sleeping patterns. A study in Switzerland showed that babies who were born to early-risers, woke up early while those born to late-risers went to bed later. You have a bigger impact on your baby than you may think!

In case you haven’t heard it enough times, if you continuously experience acute or chronic stress, your body produces stress hormones that enter your bloodstream and reach your womb. Your baby will feel the stress and studies show that babies who are subjected to extreme and constant stress may be born earlier, have a lower weight average, be hyperactive and irritable and, in some cases, they could be born with thumbs sucked raw or ulcers. On the other hand, if you continuously try to remain positive and calm, you’ll transmit those feelings to your baby and you’ll be making a huge contribution to your baby’s emotional and physical health for many years to come.

Prenatal stimulation at home

Prenatal stimulation is very important and its benefits are very valuable for your baby. However, it’s not always possible to have the means or the time to attend a workshop. What you might not know is that prenatal stimulation could be done straight from home in an easy and safe way. All you need is the Kinedu app and a cellphone or computer.

Most of the prenatal exercises for stimulation are easy to do and don’t require much time. Each exercise requires around 5 to 15 minutes. You could talk or sing to your baby to stimulate audition, massage your belly to work on the tactile sense and do some stretches on a yoga mat to work your baby’s vestibular system. The important thing is to do these exercises constantly throughout your pregnancy.

Kinedu facilitates the job by giving you the tools needed to practice prenatal stimulation techniques. You choose the time and place! All you need a cell phone or computer and some simple materials to do the activities that Kinedu offers. This way, you can easily work on your baby’s development with prenatal stimulation activities that are backed by science and recommended by experts. What are you waiting for?

Developing a prenatal stimulation program

Several studies have shown that prenatal stimulation endorses the baby’s development inside the womb. Besides, it’s been proven that babies can react to stimuli before they’re born. This is why experts recommend a prenatal stimulation program for expectant mothers that are in good health. To get the best results out of the stimulation program you must include all of the techniques in the corresponding month and based on the baby’s development. For this to be easier, you can mark in a calendar each of the techniques and their activities, including the time needed for each of them. Kinedu offers you an activity guide with steps to follow so you don’t have to worry.

Before beginning a prenatal stimulation technique, the following guidelines must be taken into account:

• The mother’s health
• The mother’s safety and comfort
• The time of the day (it’s better if you do it after lunch or dinner)
• Make sure the baby’s awake
• Make sure the place is ventilated
• Have the necessary materials
• Be constant and repetitive. Each technique must be done at least twice or three times a week
• Mother’s and/or partner’s willingness and disposition

Studies show that babies respond to stimulation either with reflexive movement, body movement, changes in the breathing rhythm, or increased heart rate. You can see this response through an ultrasound. Remember that you need to be repetitive and take into account the time each exercise needs in order to get the best results. This is why following a prenatal stimulation plan can help you get organized and do each technique in its right time.

The benefits of music during the prenatal stage

Music can change our mood and function as a tool for relaxation. It has been found that babies can benefit cognitively and physically from hearing music in the prenatal stage.

Several studies show that babies who are still in the womb can hear outside noises during the second trimester. It’s been noticed that the baby’s heart rate rises when listening to certain rhythms, and these rhythms can soothe them after birth. Scientists believe that music stimulates the alpha waves on the brain, and therefore ease the newborn.

Some studies also affirm that music helps build new neuronal connections in the baby’s brain. According to Partanen et al. (2013), babies who are stimulated in the womb show active neural activity. It’s been found that babies who have the highest brain activity after birth are those who got the most hearing stimulation in the womb.

According to studies conducted by Dr. Rene Van de Carr, babies who were stimulated in the womb sleep better, cry less and have better learning capacity.

Finally, there are programs created for prenatal auditory stimulation such as BabyPlus, the Tomatis Method, and Firstart. The purpose of these programs is to train the baby’s hearing inside the womb and to improve the baby’s development before birth.