Smoking pregnant shaka baby

Six years ago Oahu hosted the Mid-Pacific Conference on Birth and Primal Health Research with Michel Odent spear heading what he called the Honolulu Great Wake-Up Call.

Michel Odent is the renowned author of countless books, including Birth Reborn. He also is featured in the 2008 documentary, ‘The Business of Being Born’ that caused shock waves within the birthing community and penned the first medical article introducing birthing pools to maternity units.

Michel Odent also is the mastermind of the term, “womb ecology”. E·col·o·gy  branch of science concerned with the interrelationship of organisms and their environments (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Womb /woom/ noun. The organ in the lower body of a woman or female mammal where offspring are conceived and in which they gestate before birth; the uterus.

Womb ecology relates to the relationship between the fetus and the environment of the womb, especially the mother’s state of mind and health during pregnancy and how this affects the child through maturity.

It is widely understood that what a mother puts into her body will affect her developing baby. Mothers are advised not to drink alcohol or take drugs and even curb their caffeine intake. Odent went one step further and compiled a primal health research data bank (that has gathered hundreds of studies) documenting how stresses on the mother can also have an affect on the developing fetus well into their adult life.

“In many traditional societies they had an intuitive knowledge of the effects of maternal emotional states on fetal development. It was well understood that the duty of the community is to protect the emotional states of pregnant women. For example, I heard that in an ethnic group of Western Amazonia they transmit the belief that people should avoid to argue with a pregnant woman, and, if by chance they start arguing, they should always make sure that the mother-to-be would have the last word.” Michel Odent.

These intuitive practices can now be supported by science. Data shows that cortisol levels increase with stress. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal gland and is released in response to stress or when the body is in fight or flight mode. It is now well researched that cortisol is an inhibitor of fetal growth (even if the placenta can to a certain extent moderate this effect).

Oden also claims that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be associated with conditions pre-birth. “Children with this condition cannot socialize like others. The best-documented risk factors are smoking in pregnancy, alcohol and drugs in pregnancy, maternal iodine deficiency and also the degree of anxiety of the mother, particularly between 12 and 22 weeks gestation.” Michel Odent.

Mild depression can be common in pregnancy with the increases of estrogen and progesterone. Mood swings are part of the course and should not be of concern. In fact according to Michel Odent’s research a pregnant mother should try not to worry about anything! He encourages mothers-to-be to look after themselves and their state of mind. So, try and keep your thoughts positive and discover a stress reliever that works well for you. This will benefit you, and according to womb ecology, your child for decades to come.

Image Credit: Carine Bouvet

Issue 56 NavigationReading Beyond Phonetics >>Parenting for a Season – Fostering >>


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