Lack of nourishment may retard fetal growth, it may also lead to an increase in the production of cortisol, a hormone produced in response to stress, which in prolonged concentrations may affect brain cell differentiation (3). Effects in the first three months of pregnancy may be harmful to the development of the brain, including memory centres and areas of emotional responsiveness, such as the hippocampus
Ainsworth (1974) commented that infants who have been responded to sensitively and held frequently and affectionately during the early months, cry less towards the end of the first year and are able to play happily and explore their environment…
Do you wish to raise a person who listens to and hears the needs of others, who enjoys and responds timeously to social interaction and intimacy? Or do you wish to raise a person who is shut off from his own feelings and the feelings of others, who had to stand alone from an early age and learns to mistrust that other humans will meet his needs and be there for him?
It is these kinds of actions that will help us as a society to prevent the loss and despair in the newborn, described by John Bowlby so eloquently, and enable a mother to provide the right kind of interaction and closeness for her baby’s emotional and neurological development. It is out of such actions that mutual co-operation and loving partnerships will grow for our children.
Evidence suggests that traumatic events and prolonged stress and/or separation during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period may permanently affect a baby’s developing brain structures and patterns of behaviour.
Attachment is defined as the lifelong need human beings have for affectionate ties with significant other human beings. It is a biological necessity for Human Beings to have a secure attachment relationship. The development of the brain and emotional regulation capacities depends on this attachment from late pregnancy to at least 2 years of age. Infants who have been responded to sensitively and held frequently and affectionately during the early months, cry less towards the end of the first year and are able to play happily and explore their environment.
Water during labour diminishes the experience of pain as well as enabling a woman to move freely and adopt upright positions for the birth, which utilize the force of gravity. Women’feel less vulnerable and exposed than giving birth on land. The baby, still attached to the umbilical cord, will only breathe when he is lifted out of the water.