Prenatal Imprinting: How Pregnancy Can Influence Your Child's Genes

Most expectant women are warned that drinking alcohol, smoking, and eating certain foods can have serious consequences for the growth and development of their unborn children. They’re also told that certain genetic factors are responsible for determining the destiny of their baby. But there are a few other less commonly known factors that come into play when it comes to an unborn baby’s health and well-being – starting with the environment in the womb, where prenatal imprinting begins.

Not a Victim but a MASTER of Genetics

According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, many human diseases have a genetic component. This means that certain diseases can be passed down from grandparents to parents, and then to the child through their genes.

Say, for example, that your family has a history of diabetes or cancer. Current conventional knowledge states that there is an increased likelihood that you could develop diabetes or cancer, too.

What many people don’t know is that a genetic predisposition isn’t necessarily always the final verdict.

First of all, genes change hour by hour, meaning that nothing stays constant in the human body. Secondly, before birth, all mothers create environments inside their own bodies that allow their babies to adapt to their surroundings.

In other words, genes react to the environment in which we live.

In fact, according to Dr. Bruce Lipton, a stem cell biologist and bestselling author of The Biology of Belief, the external environment is interpreted in the mother’s nervous system and ultimately, controls our genetics and behavior.

Genes are just a blueprint!

Parents are Genetic Engineers

Parents are the primary influences when it comes to the fate and development of their children.

The role of a parent is more significant than simply to provide nourishment; they help to program the fate of the child. Infants are born with primary genes but how those genes are expressed is known as epigenetics.

Epigenetics, as a simplified definition, is the study of biological mechanisms that can switch genes on and off.

What the parents eat, where they live, who they interact with, when they sleep, how they exercise, even aging – all of these can eventually cause chemical modifications to a child’s genes that will turn those genes on or off over time.

Pregnancy is Nature’s “Head Start” Program

Conventional medical doctors commonly tell mothers that in order to have a healthy pregnancy, all they need to focus on is eating healthy food, taking supplements and getting regular exercise. However, there’s another crucial piece to the process and it’s called prenatal imprinting.

While the fetus is growing in the mother’s uterus, chemicals are being released into her bloodstream and passed onto the baby, which affects its growth and development.

So how are these chemicals created? Well, several ways, one of which is directly related to the emotions of the mother-to-be.

Prenatal imprinting begins with a pregnant woman’s emotional responses to external stimuli that can very quickly cause emotional and behavioral patterns in her unborn baby. For example, if the mother is repeatedly exposed to music that induces stress, then the fetus quickly adopts the pattern of stress. If the mother routinely listens to peaceful, harmonious music, then the unborn child adopts a pattern of peace and harmony.

Patterns of behavior can change the genetic activity of the cell and can be imprinted in the child.

A mother’s blood has nutrients, hormones, emotional chemicals, growth factors, and neurological regulators needed for a growing infant. For example, if a mother has formed a loving relationship with her partner, her brain releases certain chemicals, such as dopamine for pleasure and oxytocin for bonding (both of which create a “glow” effect so often seen with pregnant women).

These chemicals will transfer to the baby and can help build a healthy uterus, as well as contribute to developing the baby’s healthy motor reflexes.

On the other hand, if the mother is prone to stress, fear, or anger during pregnancy, her brain produces stress hormones that can affect the baby’s immune system and also significantly decrease the baby’s intelligence.

Habits Cause Change

The moment a baby opens its eyes, he or she is imprinting images of his or her parents. The baby can distinguish whether the parents are happy, angry, or afraid by just looking at their pupils. The pupils of the baby adjust to the pupils of their parents. With just a simple glance at its parents, a baby buries images into its subconscious.

The child will eventually grow up and will always label its own actions as good or bad, depending on what it has imprinted onto its subconscious brain. Child imprinting also happens when a baby observes the behavior of others. What the child sees in its environment collectively accumulates in the child’s psyche and becomes a habit later on.

The choices we make and how we react to situations, circumstances or events can directly affect the way our bodies and brains release specific chemicals. If you are pregnant, understand that what you feel can also be felt by the infant growing inside of you and become mindful of prenatal imprinting.