A book just hit shelves that may change the way some moms think about their pregnancy. Annie Paul’s controversial Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shapes the Rest of Our Lives revisits an idea that was part of many cultures' early belief systems: Before scientific findings introduced us to DNA, and genetic material, before psychological theories debated nature vs. nurture, there was a simple idea that what a mom did during pregnancy would affect what her offspring was like. Now, there's scientific proof to back this theory up. Findings such as: being overstressed during pregnancy can have lifelong effects on the child's intelligence and health -- and (I particularly like this one) eating chocolate during pregnancy can lead to a happier baby. But I surely hope everything you do in pregnancy doesn't account for a direct outcome. What about those fast food pit stops I made when I was expecting?
The basis of the book, “Fetal Origins” science, has become extremely popular in the past decade. The concepts it presents could actually make pregnancy somewhat of a scientific experiment. But I worry that this school of thought will promote pregnancy guilt and an onslaught of new rules for expectant moms. I'm already feeling belated guilt, which certainly won't change anything. On the other hand, knowing you can make decisions to positively affect the mental and physical health of your baby could be a nice feeling. I guess it’s important to remember that “Fetal Origins” science doesn’t negate good old fashioned genetic and environmental factors -- at least, not yet. And until I find out otherwise, I'll assume that the Burger King egg sandwiches I ate while I was pregnant didn't do any damage.
How much do you think mom's actions during pregnancy affect the baby? Chime in below!