Academic journal article Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health

Fetal Awareness of Maternal Emotional States during Pregnancy

Academic journal article Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health

Fetal Awareness of Maternal Emotional States during Pregnancy

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT: Contemporary research indicates that the mother's emotional state and that of her unborn child are far more closely related before birth than was thought to be the case only a few years ago. The purpose of this study was to explore possible correlations existing between the primary emotional states of birthmothers during their pregnancies and the subsequent awareness of these emotional states of birthmothers by their offspring. To achieve this goal, 12 pairs of mothers (ages 44 to 85) and their offspring (ages 9 to 61) were hypnotically age regressed to the time of the pregnancy. Hypnotherapy/ideomotor technique was employed, in separate sessions with each mother and each offspring, by licensed professional psychologists, who were selected because they routinely used hypnotherapy in their private practices. Within the findings across all 12 pairs, there were 79 identified instances of correlation, derived from a content analysis from the regression session transcripts. The data from this study yielded a striking variety and quantity of detailed information about prenatal consciousness and a wide range of recalled prenatal experience by the offspring, as well as supporting information from the birthmother. The findings in this study indicated evidence of the existence of a greater consciousness in the prenate than has been acknowledged in the literature. The transcripts of the offspring revealed a prenatal consciousness that seemed self aware and environmentally cognizant. These findings suggested that there is a method to tap into our memories of prenatal experiences. With refinements and different foci, further research in these areas may significantly contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of pre- and perinatal care, obstetrics, human consciousness, origins of our core beliefs or patterns, and therapy.


Modern science, with its sophisticated equipment and procedures, has shed new light on the prenatal experience. In contemporary literature, more and more examples of womb awareness (prenatal awareness) are being reported. The fetus or prenate has been observed, stimulated, sampled and measured (Chamberlain, 1987). The research of Thomas R. Verny, using information obtained in later hypnotic regressions, has revealed that the prenate even resents this kind of intrusion while in the prenatal environment (Chamberlain, 1983; Verny, 1986).

It has become common in psychotherapy to hypnotically regress clients to circumstances that may have led to their particular problems in the adult present. Apparently, many of our current behaviors and beliefs can be tied to prenatal incidents, including the fetal experience of such events and the capacity to make decisions while in the prenatal state (Hull, 1986; Lake, 1982). There are many case studies hi the literature of age regression techniques having accessed the prenatal period of life (Chamberlain, 199Ob; Cheek, 1986; & Wade, 1998).

The primary purpose of this study was to explore possible correlations that might exist between a birthmother's primary emotional states during pregnancy and the awareness of these primary emotional states by their now older child or adult offspring, who were hypnotically age-regressed to their prenatal period of life. The intent of this study is to assist in increasing an awareness of the possibility that the primary emotional states of the mother may be passed on to the unborn child during the prenatal formation stage and that these states can affect the child into adulthood. This purpose and premise led to the current study, which attempted to further organize and evaluate these as-yet relatively unorganized fragments of a larger, more complex picture of the prenatal experience as well as its relationship to post-birth existence.

During an internship, in a therapy setting using hypnotic regression and other techniques, the principal investigator (John Ham) observed that there appeared to be an association between the client's emotional state of being, (such as "not being wanted, not being loved, feelings of not being enough, feelings of betrayal, and feelings of not wanting to be here") that did not seem to correlate to any memory retrievable from adult or childhood experience. …

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