What’s going on for baby?

An unborn baby shares everything with their māmā. They are completely dependent on her for nourishment, nurture and protection from all harm. Whatever she eats, drinks, smokes or feels, so does baby via the umbilical cord that connects māmā and baby’s circulation.

Their developing brain is influenced by what māmā is doing and how she is feeling. Her feelings affect baby’s emotional development — if she feels stressed, baby feels stressed too.

Whānau and friends play an important role in caring for the expectant parents and their unborn baby. If pāpā or māmā have worries, sharing them with their doctor, midwife, whānau and friends can help to ease their concerns.

How can parents and whānau help?

  • De-stress by listening to music or doing gentle exercise such as:
    • walking
    • swimming
    • yoga.
  • Avoid things that are toxic or can cause long-term brain damage to baby, such as:
    • constant stressful situations
    • drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and misusing non-prescription drugs
    • eating raw meat, fish or poultry and soft cheeses
    • using strong household cleaners and garden chemicals
    • cleaning out the cat's litter box (or wear gloves for this activity).

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