Why is experience in pregnancy, birth and infancy so important for lifelong health and success?
In recent years scientists have made monumental discoveries about the brain with extraordinary potential to positively change lives. One of the biggest discoveries is that lifelong brain, mind and body health as well as success in school, work and relationships crucially depends on a regulated emotional system. The emotional system is the core or foundation of the brain and influences almost all brain functioning, including: stress management, resilience, thinking, reasoning, attention, decision making, intelligence, navigating social and romantic relationships, self confidence and self worth. The emotional system also influences the health of the brain, mind and the body. A regulated emotional system is our defense against the incidence of mental health issues like anxiety, depression or addiction and physical health issues like obesity, heart disease or metabolic syndrome. Finally a regulated emotional system can mitigate inherited genetic vulnerabilities to various mental and physical illnesses.
Incredibly the emotional system and its ability to be regulated develop at the beginning of life, during pregnancy and infancy. In early life the emotional system has neuroplasticity, which means it is highly flexible to changes from the environment. Experiences physically build connections, chemistry and structure in the brain during early life. The brain makes an astonishing 1 million connections per second in early life and we want to build these connections to support health for life. After infancy the emotional system and its ability to be regulated becomes less flexible. Because of the flexibility of the brain in pregnancy and infancy, early parent/caregiver/family relationships and the early environment form the emotional system in profound ways. Nurturing the neuroscience of the early brain - though emotional connection, touch, love and responsiveness - creates an emotionally regulated brain that brings benefits for life.
These discoveries show us why experience is so important in pregnancy, birth and infancy. If we provide a healthy environment in early life, we can nurture our children’s emotional system to bring them all of advantages of lifelong health, good relationships and success.
"Listening to you, I get the music
Gazing at you, I get the heat
Following you, I climb the mountain
I get excitement at your feet
Right behind you, I see the millions
On you, I see the glory
From you, I get opinions
From you, I get the story"