Bonding With Your Unborn Baby

Preggie Pals – Bonding With Your Baby Before Birth

Why this podcast?
I’m featuring this podcast again because it’s a fun one to listen to. Apart from that, it also has a great range of topics to choose from and some really interesting info too.

Each episode features a group of women who are mothers, expecting or maybe both and it’s kind of like listening to a group of friends hanging out, chatting and often giggling as well.

Although there is a fun tone this podcast is definitely not just about cool maternity clothes and mocktails. Preggie Pals actually covers more serious subjects than not, including prenatal anxiety and depression, miscarriage and stillbirth & prenatal testing.

For more details about the podcast itself, you might want to check out my other posts featuring Preggie Pals, which you can find here and here.

How does it look?
Episodes are released once a week and tend to be around twenty-five to forty-five minutes.
At the time of writing, there were nearly a hundred and fifty episodes so I’m sure you’ll be able to find a whole lot that grabs your attention.

Topics covered include chiropractic care during pregnancy, the benefits of professional birth photography, ten reasons to call your doctor or midwife, the bed rest survival guide, buying maternity clothes, body image during pregnancy, VBAC, pampering yourself during pregnancy, creating your postpartum plan and body changes during pregnancy.

Why this episode?
I love the idea of learning about ways to bond with your baby before they are even born and this episode also explores how important it is to be aware of how we, as expectant mothers, are feeling because our feelings are transferred to the baby.

Who should listen to this episode?
Anyone who is expecting, both mums and partners.

The episode
You have to go about eight minutes into the episode before they get into the subject of bonding with your unborn baby but one of the first things to come up is the unborn baby’s consciousness. The expert joining the Preggie Pals is Tracy Wilson Peters, a childbirth educator and author.

Tracy talks about how whatever feelings the mother experiences are also experienced by her unborn baby. She gives the example of stress. We know that we experience stress physically as well as emotionally. It seems that studies have found that the placenta acts as a kind of communication device for our emotions.

Tracy goes on to explain that whenever we experience a feeling, whether it be stress, happiness, sadness, whatever, molecules are released in our body. Examples of these can be adrenaline, cortisol or oxytocin.

These can all travel to the baby.

And, in the case of stress, that may not be such a good thing.

So, what can we do?
Take time each day to try to destress and to focus on the positives. Be around people who make you feel good and who bring you joy.

Fetal love breaks
Whilst talking and singing to your unborn baby is great, apparently, there is more you can do.

Take a break each day, yes, a fetal love break, to be quiet and focus on things that make you happy. Maybe sit outside in the sunshine or in a green, calm place. Listen to some music or practice meditation.

Anything, in short, that brings you joy.

Be aware of what that is and honour it.

What if I don’t feel connected to my baby?
This does not necessarily mean that anything is wrong, for instance, prenatal depression (although if that is what your instincts are telling you, listen to them and talk to a professional).

Tracy suggests that it could be that you simply need to take more time to focus on your baby and yourself. Be mindful of how much time you are really devoting to sitting quietly, doing something that makes you happy and focusing on your unborn baby.

Will my maternal instincts be stronger the more I bond with my baby?
A study in which faces were shown to pregnant women found that when those same faces were shown to them again towards the end of their pregnancy they were very aware of any little signs of anger or aggression on those faces. Signs they didn’t pick up on in the first trimester.

Just as our instincts get stronger and stronger during pregnancy the more time you take to bond with your baby and to focus on your own happiness, the more connected you will feel.

What are some ways I can bond with my unborn baby?
Tracy shares some advice from her book, The Greatest Pregnancy Ever, on specific things you can do to help you bond.

And, yes, if you take the first letter from each of the title words below it spells out the word BOND.

Being
Having a positive attitude and being mindful will both help to lay the foundation for a joyful life. Look at your environment and the relationships you have in your life. Do you feel safe? Supported? Do you need to make changes?

Observing
Look at different aspects of your life and observe, question. Will my job be compatible with having a young baby? What about when my child is older or if I have more children?

If there are already raised eyebrows about you leaving work to attend prenatal appointments this may be a sign that they are not going to be happy for you to take time away after your baby comes along.

Look at the ways you can reduce stress and get the support that you need.

Nourishing
This is something to focus on during your second trimester.
Tracy points out that she is not referring to food when she talks about this kind of nourishment (although eating well in pregnancy is super important).

This is making sure you are nourishing yourself.

Are you happy with your care provider? Do you trust them? Can you be open with them?

What about your relationship with your partner? Working on that now is definitely better than trying to do so after your baby is born.

Deciding
There seem to be so many things that we have to decide on during pregnancy and the amount of information out there can be overwhelming.

I thought it was really interesting that Tracy said that she thought informed consent is simply not enough.  It is also important to listen to your consciousness, to your instincts. Be aware of how you feel about something and of how you might feel afterwards. If that is a negative feeling, don’t ignore that, explore it.

Tracy’s book looks at exploring many different decisions surrounding pregnancy, birth and beyond and if you are interested in learning more I recommend taking a look at her website.

To wrap up
I found this episode super interesting in that it goes beyond the normal advice of singing and talking to your baby. As with everything, listen, learn and then take from it what works for you. There is no right and wrong way to bond with your unborn baby.

Singing and talking and just taking some quiet time to sit and place your hand on your belly will also send all those love hormones speeding towards your baby.

I’m curious if anyone has read this book and if they feel that these methods helped them to bond with their baby. Please drop me a comment!

 Other episodes on this topic
Birthful – Connecting with your Baby in Utero

Fear Free Childbirth – Seven Ways that Behaviour during Pregnancy affects your Baby

Blog Talk Radio – Talk to your Unborn Baby

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By emilywills

Emily Wills is a doula based in Stockholm. She believes that birth can be a beautiful and empowering experience and started this blog as a way of sharing some really great podcasts. She is also a mother of three and an enthusiastic runner.

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