When a mother gets pregnant, her life changes in unimaginable ways. One minute she is the happy-go-lucky girl without a care in the world. Then, the next, she is thrust into a world where what she eats and what she does will impact either positively or negatively on the life of the baby in her bump.
Not only does she have to keep active, but she also has to get bigger as the baby grows and this, not by eating every bit of junk food on the market, but by choosing her meals meticulously to cater for her baby’s needs, as well as her own. She also has to have enough sleep, and this too while lying on her side, the left side to be precise. Then she has to take her prenatal vitamins and get all the shots to prevent opportunistic infections.
With all these preparations and cautions, one is left with the impression that the baby in the bump is so delicate that the tiniest flutter would wipe her away. This is not true, and it is not until a woman is pregnant and gets to understand the child she carries that she realizes that babies are surprising and resilient little beings. What they are capable of or not at all can both amuse and surprise. These tiny creatures are not only aware; they can feel a myriad of things, more so in the ninth month of pregnancy.
20 Can feel: Mom's Sadness
We all talk about the baby being cushioned in amniotic fluid and we think that in there, the baby is in perpetual happiness swimming his heart out in that little world unaware of what is going on in the outside. While this may be true, at least the swimming around a bit, the truth is, if mom is feeling down in the dumps, so is the baby.
Any negative hormone that is secreted in the system is what is shared with the baby and a sad mother has a sad little camper inside of her.
It may not be easy to remain happy with the mood swings a woman experiences, but for the child’s sake, one should make an effort.
19 Can feel: Mom’s Stress
When mom is stressed, she secretes the stress hormone cortisol and it is released into her system.
Since she and baby are sharing the same system, the baby too gets mom's stress.
This stress explains the reason why pregnant women often times have babies prematurely as a result of stress-induced contractions.
Premature babies are born with a myriad of issues, one of them is that they may need to be kept in an incubator for some time. Sometimes stress may not be something one can predict. However, it is recommended that moms try to avoid stressful situations and keep calm to help calm the baby.
18 Can Taste Mom's food
The weirdest period of any woman's life is pregnancy. That is when a woman will fall in love with food she previously would never have touched and it is also the time that this same woman forms an aversion to her favorite foods.
Babies can perceive the taste of food in the womb and there are those women who eat fries whenever they cannot feel the babies movement.
They swear that the baby starts to jump around whenever she eats the food.
Others will drink a coke and claim that the baby gets very active when they do. True or not, studies show that a babies taste and preference for certain foods forms in the womb.
17 Can Feel: Mom's Happiness
Mom dictates the atmosphere in any home and if she is happy, everyone is happy. If a pregnant woman is happy, her baby can sense and feel that.
Babies experience happiness in their cushy world in the womb and as she and mom bond, she gets to feel all that mom feels.
This is caused by the release of dopamine and serotonin that cause happiness. The more of these hormones that mom releases the happier the baby will be as she mimics mom’s emotions. We are aware that pregnancy can be stressful, but mom should try to keep her happiness levels elevated for the sake of her child.
16 Can Feel and Express Emotions
This one is rather heartbreaking.
Towards the end of the second trimester, the baby sometimes cries when he is not pleased.
The babies will open and close their mouths and depress their tongues and make hand gestures indicating that they are in distress before they can settle back down.
Mothers who smoke cause this form of distress to their babies. According to Healthy Mummy, “a study conducted at Lancaster and Durham Universities indicates babies with mothers who smoked during pregnancy had a much higher rate of mouth movement and placing their little hands over their mouth and eyes whilst in the womb.”
15 Can Feel: The Beat
Many women buy earphones and place them on their tummies, something others find rather hilarious.
What we do not realize is that even in the womb, the baby appreciates the sound of the beat.
According to Made for Mums, “Babies start to respond noticeably to sound from about 20 weeks. They’re aware of noises inside the womb – your blood gushing, heart pumping and digestion working – as well as outside, such as music. In a recent study, babies exposed to a soap opera theme tune in the womb reacted to the music two to four days after birth, while a control group made no response.”
14 Can Hear: All The Noise
Studies now show that the inside of the womb is quite noisy, but what is surprising is that even inside the womb, encased in all that amniotic fluid, excess noise can damage the baby’s eardrums.
According to the Independent, “The sounds a mum exposes herself to are what a baby is exposed to as well, but babies can't put in earplugs. The CDC says moms should avoid very loud noises exceeding 115 dBA — chainsaws, gunfire, jet engines, blaring music, loud concerts, and so forth. Consistent loud noise (like heavy machinery) can also damage a baby's hearing in the womb.”
13 Can Feel: Sense of Touch
Even when the baby is still in the womb, he appreciates the sense of touch, seeing as this is the only way he has to interact inside the womb. For him to explore, he uses his feet and tiny hands to try and get a sense of the environment around him.
This includes reacting to her mother’s touch on the belly.
12 Can Feel: Bright lights
The inside of the womb is pretty dark and we do not expect the baby to see much in there. Even though it will be a while before the baby gets that first dose of light during birth, babies do practice opening and closing their eyes. This happens more towards the end of the pregnancy and they have been seen to open and close their eyes akin to blinking during an ultrasound.
Doctors have also noticed that babies tend to shy away from bright light shone on the belly, seemingly suggesting that babies are aware of the sensation of light.
11 Can feel: when mom is really down
Depression is the monster that creeps in on most women during pregnancy. This is because pregnancies come with their own challenges and most women are plagued with thoughts of inadequacy, not to mention the fear that they are just not ready for the new baby.
These feelings can escalate if the mother-to-be has no support system and if she feels alone and stressed. Depression has been linked to stillbirths and babies with low birth weight. It is also linked to high blood pressure and preeclampsia. At the first sign of depression, mothers should see the doctor to forge a way forward.
10 Can feel: Mom's Heartbeat
A baby is mom’s sweetheart and it is even more endearing to know that this does not just happen when the baby comes into the world. Towards the ninth month, the baby has matured enough to discern his mother’s heartbeat.
According to Child Research Net, “the heartbeat of the mother is imprinted into the brain of the fetus. It is not too surprising that the newborn infant is calmed and seems to feel some emotions when s/he hears the heartbeat of the mother that this fetus heard in the womb. Thus, those babies who come into this world are soothed by the sound of their mother's heartbeats and sleep to the lullaby of the soft beating sounds.”
9 Can feel: Mom's Love
Babies can perceive negativity directed at them right from the womb. Mothers secrete the hormone oxytocin in their ninth month and more often when the baby is ready to come into the world. This hormone is known as the love hormone and it is also responsible for causing happiness. It is also the reason mom is able to nurse her baby.
This love hormone is the reason baby bonds so well with mom as he can feel all the love directed to him. As complicated as love is, even those mothers who suffer from depression but still love their babies, transfer the feeling to their kids.
8 Can feel: Mom’s Movements
Exercise during pregnancy comes with a lot of benefits and while before mothers were afraid of exercising, thinking that it could lead to a miscarriage or problems with the baby. It has now emerged that exercise during pregnancy is quite beneficial to the mother and the baby too.
The baby feels all the movement as mom jumps around or goes for that walk. She also gets a dose of the feel-good hormones that come with this exercise as they pass to the baby too. The benefits translate to the birth of the child as exercise has been known to help ease the effects of labor.
7 Can feel: Balance
There are those of us who have always thought that if we were to stand on our heads the baby would topple over in the womb or get dizzy. This is a trick that some women propagate to try and make the baby lie with his head down if it isn’t already in the right position for labor.
For those who fall for this crazy trick, it is good to know that the balance sensors in a baby develop towards the end of the 24th week and the baby will be just fine even if the mother feels dizzy when standing up, the baby will suffer no such fate.
6 Can feel: Physical Existence
Babies are aware of themselves and this awareness begins as early as their second month of existence. This explains why babies are in constant movement inside the womb and why they explore their bodies by sticking their tiny fingers into their ears or touching their faces and lips.
There are those babies who even wave during an ultrasound, all this being an indication that they are aware of their own existence. By the time they are in their ninth month, their coordination is well refined and at this time, the baby is able to give mom a kick packed with energy, especially when he is feeling joyful or not amused.
5 Can't Feel: Hiccups
The funniest and awe-striking phenomenon of babies in the womb is their ability to hiccup, something mom can feel as early as the second trimester. This can be seen in an ultrasound and most mothers gulp down gallons of water in an effort to help ease the sensation for their babies.
Even though they are having hiccups, research shows that the baby does not feel the hiccups and even better, cannot be harmed by them. This knowledge should be enough to give mothers-to-be some peace; even after the baby is born as they are prone to a lot of hiccups even after birth.
4 Can't Feel: Bumps to the belly
When we are pregnant, we get very protective of our babies and the paranoia associated with the child peaks during the ninth month. Most of us are afraid that anything can cause harm to the baby; even a bump from a stranger on the streets.
3 Can't Feel: Contractions
During birth and in preparation of birth, the body gets contractions that for the woman can be quite uncomfortable. These contractions even give the woman the sensation of having a stomach ache, while others attribute them to pain. Most mothers are worried that the contractions could be making the baby uncomfortable or even hurting him.
Even though babies can notice or have a feel for pain as early as the second trimester, studies now show that the baby does not feel contractions before or during labor. Moms in labor should, therefore, concentrate on bringing the baby into the world without worrying about hurting him.
2 Can't Feel: The Uterus
Most of us are a little claustrophobic and there are those who cannot spend a minute in small spaces. One would think that this fear comes from the tiny place in the womb they had to spend their days in. This fear does not come from the womb.
It now emerges that the baby cannot feel the uterus since he is surrounded and is swimming in amniotic fluid. He can feel his own hands and will explore his face and body and even touch the placenta, but he will not feel the walls of the uterus nor will he be touching them.
1 Can't Feel: Grown-up time
Most of our partners shy away from bedroom matters as soon as they find out that we are pregnant. This can be quite devastating for a pregnant woman whose drive tends to go on an all-time high, especially during the second trimester. There are also those who decide to keep off getting together in the last month of pregnancy for fear that doing so will induce labor or that the baby will feel the rocking sensation of it.
This is a misconception, as, inside her little world, the baby is quite oblivious to your shenanigans. She may feel moms happiness, but do not worry the rest is still yours and your partner’s.