Category Archives: Prenatal stimulation

Scientific evidence for prenatal stimulation

Prenatal psychology began as a scientific discipline in 1970, and since then, several studies have been conducted to learn about the effects of prenatal stimulation. Thanks to increasing technology, we’ve been able to study with greater precision the process of gestation and the benefits of prenatal stimulation. Scientist like Thomas Verny, Dr. Breatriz Manrique, and Dr. Rene Van de Carr, have found some very interesting results.

It’s been found that by week 22, babies have the capacity to react to body movements and blink their eyes when light strikes them. Visual techniques are recommended to stimulate your baby’s vision. For example, you could stimulate your baby by shining a flashlight on your tummy.

Furthermore, studies have found that when touching or pressuring your belly, vibrations are generated and felt by babies skin nerves, increasing their heart rate. You can use tactile techniques, like belly massages with different textures to stimulate the baby’s tactile sense.

Finally, babies can also able to develop a sense of balance with motor techniques. Studies have shown that when you’re in a position that alters your baby’s sense of balance, {he/she} gets the information necessary to develop equilibrium and movement perception.

Connecting with your baby

Why is connecting with your baby during pregnancy so important?

Several studies have shown that a mother’s mood can influence the baby’s development. For example, a study conducted by Dr. Silvie Richard found a connection between highly stressed mothers and health issues in their babies after being born. Scientist like Rottman, Nilsson, and Lukesch also studied the mother’s rejection towards her baby during pregnancy and found significant correlations between maternal rejection and Hyperactive syndrome in babies. Besides, it was found that many babies who were rejected during pregnancy showed rejection to breastfeeding or displayed feeding anomalies.

On the contrary, there are studies that have shown positive results when the mother connects and stimulates her baby during pregnancy. For example, Thomas Verny and Dr. Rene Van de Carr studied fetal development and found that babies who are stimulated in the womb cry less, are peaceful, and show better learning abilities after birth. Likewise, there are many studies that found lots of benefits from prenatal stimulation.

How can you connect with your baby?

• Enjoy and focus on feeling every movement your baby does. For example, the first time you feel a kick, try to connect and imagine your baby. Your baby’s movements are a reminder that {his/her} heart is beating inside you. Take the time to respond to your baby with a little bit of pressure or soft massage every time there’s a kick
• Do diverse relaxing exercises to decrease stress, elevate positive emotions, and connect with your baby
• Speak often, tell your baby a story or sing songs. Your baby will definitely feel calm when listening to your voice
• Listen to classical music or soft music, and connect with your baby through music

Intrauterine growth

Intrauterine growth is composed of two stages: embryo growth and fetal growth. Your baby’s development in the womb is defined by the growth of complex structures, maturity and organ’s functionality, as well as weight gain and growth. Through a fetal ultrasound, you’re able to estimate your baby’s weight, gestational age, anatomical features and blood flow, as well as fetal movement and heart rate. An ultrasound could reveal data about fetal deformities or any other red flags.

The development of your baby depends on these factors:

• Nurturing environment
• The adequate genetic information
• Placental functioning and nutrient supply
• Mom’s health
• Hormonal secretions

Babies grow faster during the third trimester due to the organs and the body parts that are already formed. Therefore, your belly will grow a lot more during the last three months. Remember, keep a nutritious diet, take care of your body, and visit your doctor periodically. These are all very important for your baby’s healthy development!

My baby’s first kicks

When will you feel your baby’s first kicks?

You could feel your baby’s first kicks around the second trimester. If you haven’t been pregnant before, it might be a bit harder to tell them apart from other bodily movements, like those made from your intestines. You’ll be able to tell the difference with greater ease as the fetal movement increases and becomes more frequent.

What does it feel like?

There are no two mothers that are the same, so it varies between one woman and another. Some might feel soft movements, while others feel the sensation of bubbles bursting inside their womb. The best way to feel your baby kick is while being relaxed, sitting or lying down. This way you’ll be able to focus on the movements. It’s widely advised that you stay responsive to your baby’s movements, caressing your womb or singing, this is a great chance to bond with your little one!

Remember that each baby is unique; some babies tend to kick and move more than others. This is why if your baby doesn’t move as often as your friend’s baby, don’t worry. However, if you don’t feel any movements for over 24 hours, contact your doctor.

Prenatal stimulation: motor technique

You can help develop your baby’s point of balance by using the motor technique of prenatal stimulation. It’s recommended that you start applying this technique during the fifth month of gestation ºsince doing it earlier could be dangerous for your baby.

What’s the motor technique?

Studies show that when the mother is in a position that affects the baby’s equilibrium in the womb, the baby gets information of her position, and therefore develops a sense of balance and movement. This technique consists of gentle dancing or moving with rhythm and coordination.

The motor technique could benefit your baby and promote {his/her} cognitive and physical health, as well as help you cope with stress and decrease pregnancy-related discomforts. Besides, exercise strengthens your body and prepares it for labor.

What are some activities that are recommended for your baby’s stimulation?

• Low-impact dancing
• Swimming
• Prenatal gymnastics
• Prenatal yoga
• Prenatal Pilates
• Kegel exercises

Remember, exercise during pregnancy is highly recommended just as long as it’s done in moderation. If you have any complications or pain, avoid exercising and contact your doctor.

Prenatal stimulation: auditory technique

You can stimulate your baby’s auditory sense with external sounds starting from the fourth month of gestation. Your baby can listen to intrauterine sounds such as your heart beat, and outer sounds such as voices and music, which come all the way from the spine through the abdominal walls. You must take into account that the amniotic fluid muffles outside sounds so whispering to your baby wouldn’t be an adequate form of stimulation.

The auditory technique can benefit and promote your baby’s cognitive and physical health. Auditory stimulation can also promote your baby’s state of alertness when done appropriately. Studies have shown that babies are responsive to their mom’s voice as their heartbeats and physical movements rise whenever they hear her. Other studies have shown that the production of a specific sound can calm babies, and diminish their heart rate once born.

What are some of the recommended exercises for your baby’s auditory stimulation?

• Speak to your baby in a loud, clear and slow voice
• Tell {him/her} a story or ask your partner to do so
• Listen to classical music or a recording of nature sounds
• Sing a simple song with a clear and slow voice

Prenatal stimulation: visual technique

You can stimulate your baby’s retina and vision by doing prenatal stimulation exercises that involve light. You can start doing the visual technique since the fourth month of gestation. While exposing your belly to light, photons go through your abdominal walls and stimulate your baby’s vision. Some studies have found that around the sixth month of gestation, babies blink their eyes when presented with light.

The visual technique could benefit your baby and boost {his/her} cognitive and physical health. If done appropriately, it can help your baby develop better visual discrimination, along with a better sense of direction and orientation.

What are some of the exercises that are recommended for visual stimulation?

• Expose your belly to sunlight for about 20 seconds and then cover it with a dark blanket. Do this several times. If it’s cloudy or too cold, you can try it in a room with artificial lights
• Expose your belly and shed light on it with a flashlight. Slowly move it around, side to side, up and down

Prenatal stimulation: the tactile technique

To put in practice the tactile technique, work on your receptive or affective communication with your baby through massages with different objects and textures. The tactile technique can be done starting at the tenth week of gestation. When you place pressure on your abdomen, vibrations are generated and transmitted through the amniotic fluid, and then received by the baby’s skin nerves. Studies and ultrasounds have found that the baby’s heart rate increases when the mom’s belly is gently pressured.

The tactile technique could benefit your baby by boosting {his/her} physical and mental health. However, it’s strongly advised to avoid this technique if you have any infection, abdominal pain, past abortion or preterm birth.

What are some of the exercises that are recommended for my baby’s stimulation?

• Massage your belly with different textures or a vibrator. You can use textured objects, small rubber balls, or your fingertips
• Answer with a little tap or gently pressure your abdomen whenever your baby kicks. Try doing this constantly
• Let water run on your belly with different levels of intensity. You may do this when you’re in the shower
• Ask your partner or a family member to stroke your belly, so that they can start forming a bond with your baby too

Development of the senses in the womb

Your baby’s senses start to develop in the womb. Numerous studies show that babies can experiment sensations and react to outside stimuli during gestation. Each of the senses develops at its own pace, touch being one of the first ones to do so.

Touch starts developing by the seventh week of gestation. The amniotic fluid and the uterus massage your baby’s skin and help {him/her} develop this sensation. Sounds, which are transmitted through the amniotic fluid, reach the baby as tactile vibrations. Some studies and ultrasound exams show that heart rate increases when there’s tactile pressure on your belly.

Around the seventh month, your baby’s ear will be fully formed. During the late second trimester, your baby will be able to perceive inner and outer sounds from the uterus. However, they can be muffled since they must go through the spine and abdominal wall.

Sight develops around week 22. Several studies show that babies from inside the uterus can react to light by moving or blinking their eyes. You can use a flashlight to stimulate your baby.

Some studies show that the flavors that the mother eats end up in the amniotic fluid. It’s been shown that the baby swallows quicker and more frequently when the flavor is sweet.

Finally, studies show that smell is developed during the third trimester. According to Lisa Eliot, a professor at the Medical School of Chicago, your baby’s lungs are filled with amniotic fluid, and while they don’t get any oxygen, amniotic fluid allows smells to be transmitted.

Prenatal stimulation techniques

Prenatal stimulation is made up of a set of techniques that optimize the physical and mental development of the baby through external stimulation, such as light and sound. Nowadays, we know that by the third month of gestation your baby’s organs are already formed and developing, therefore, it’s recommended to stimulate your baby as early as the second trimester.

During the 1980’s, pregnant women started using headphones on their abdomen to stimulate their baby’s hearing. Along with this technique, some others have arisen to stimulate other senses.

Here are five prenatal stimulation techniques:

• Auditory technique
• Visual technique
• Tactile technique
• Motor technique
• Mental or relaxation technique

Now, I’ll give you some recommendations before starting any of the prenatal stimulation techniques:

• Once you start with a technique, like singing to your baby, try to be as repetitive as possible (sing the same song at the same time of the day)
• Use one technique at a time (your baby can’t pay attention to several stimuli at the same time)
• Sound must be constant, try not to change the volume or rhythm too often
• Make sure that your baby is awake before starting
• Use these techniques at least twice a week
• Your partner’s or other family member’s participation will help create a bond between them and the baby.