Dick Swaab, Dir. of the Netherlands Institute for Brain Research
I like to say, "You are your PRENATAL brain."
.... brain function and behavior are critically influenced, even permanently modified in major ways, by the environmental condition that exist during development. How we think, reason and see are not just inherited characteristics. Brain function, behavior, mood, IQ, and emotional stability are not solely a product of our genes.
—Peter Nathanielsz, MD (OB), PhD (Vet) in “Life in the Womb
On the left is the adult version of the twelve week old fetus -- everything in the adult was formed by twelve weeks.
It is scientific and logical that physiologically the structures begun at conception and completed by the end of the second month of gestation DO establish the biological, hormonal, emotional, and mental foundation for who we are to be our entire life. Every experience thereafter, whether in the womb, laboring and birthing, or life long is part of one long continuum of brain development. YOU are YOUR prenatal brain.
From conception forward, the baby (brain and body) has developed in the maternal relationship and response to the environment. The human baby's experience and feelings of safety, love, support, worth, being wanted, etc are established prenatally through infancy. From before conception, in the sperm and the egg, we are fully living tissues of our parents and influenced on a cellular level by their lives. Every system and brain is literally built according to mother's physiology, her life experiences, and her perceptions of herself, the baby's father, and the world. During gestation there is not one second of time that is not critical in building the baby's brain and body. It is recorded (imprinted, remembered) in the cells. Nor, is there one second of time during labor and birth that is not critical to the baby's billion neurons and so, to his brain and to his experience.
L. Janel Martin (Miranda), MA, http://www.itsthebabysbirth.com/
The debate about the safety of birth at home versus hospital, sadly, ironically does not include what is actually safest for the fetus/newborn in that amazing transition being from fetus in the womb to newborn in the world. It's a relatively short period of time but it is such a profoundly significant experience that will DEFINE in the BRAIN of the HUMAN BABY HOW s/he will BE IN the world.
Pictures are used not with permission but with the greatest regard and appreciation from the book:
From Conception to Birth: A Life Unfolds by Alexander Tsiaras