It’s no secret that babies in utero pick on a mum’s stress; there have been a mass of studies that say as much. But there has never photographic evidence…until now!
Researchers from Durham and Lancaster universities have photographic evidence of unborn babies using their hands (touch) to soothe away the anxieties that they are picking up from their mums.
As part of the study 15 mothers-to-be were given 4D ultrasound scans four times during their pregnancy. The participating mums were questioned on their stress levels in the month leading up to the scan.
The videos were then analysed, and researchers found that the more stressed out the mum, the more the unborn baby touched its forehead – a similar gesture to that of an anxious adult mopping his brow.
Interestingly, the babies of anxious mums used their left hand most open to touch their faces.
The ironic thing about trying not to stress when pregnant is the anxiety invoked by trying not to be anxious. It’s a catch-22.
Yet the thought of the baby in your tummy lifting its little hand up to its little face to help relieve the stress being passed on from your own fears and worries, is just tear-jerking – am I right? If you’re prone to stress, the best thing to do is find ways to manage the anxious tension – yoga, exercise (appropriate to pregnancy), reading, talking, pampering, sharing burdens with others…whatever works best for you, do it! And remember; happy mummy, happy baby!