Mum Brain – Bub Brain

By Trevor Chetcuti on 7 Dec 2015
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For many people having a child is the highlight of their life and they’ll do everything possible to achieve the perfect outcome. However, most people fail to understand that as a pregnant mum you’re not simply an incubator, but a geneticist altering the development of your child with everything you do.

In fact there is a growing body of evidence showing the effects of lifestyle on the developing child. One such study showed that a mother put under stress from a social perspective could alter the brain function of a developing child changing the child’s ability to cope with stress predisposing them to anxiety based issues.
Another study showed a low protein intake during pregnancy could alter development of the hippocampus, an area of the brain that regulates stress and memory, altering blood pressure and stress hormone regulation.

A study into nicotine use found that rats that were given nicotine in pregnancy had their offspring develop crowding of their teeth possibly due to changes in the development of the maxilla.

The best opportunities aren’t necessarily derived from the best schools or the best education, but the best role models.

But it’s not all bad. Whilst there is much variance in the research, exercise during pregnancy has been shown to enhance the neural development of children, improve heart rate variability (autonomic nervous system function), lower body fat levels as far as 5 years of age, improve oral language skills, reduce the chance of large babies and improve foetal growth!
The parent-bub link doesn’t end there though. As far back as 1997 a linear relationship was shown between the ability of offspring to regulate stress and the amount of nurturing provided its mother. In short, those rats that cuddled, licked and groomed their offspring the most had offspring that were better able to regulate stress.

What is seeming to become apparent as research progresses is that our children are reflections of us. Their neurology, genetics, physiology and biochemistry is influenced by what their systems learn from us. The way we treat them and the way we treat ourselves may have a greater influence on their development than any level of education you could ever provide.

“What You Do Speaks So Loud I Cannot Hear What You Say” Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The scariest thing is that the latest research on genetics is starting to suggest that these changes may be observable in the next two generations. So what you do may not only affect your kids, but also theirs.
We often discuss with new mums and dads the important role they have in the development of a child. Conception is just the start of the journey. A healthy, well balanced adult is derived from a child who was given the best opportunities in young life. The best opportunities aren’t necessarily derived from the best schools or the best education, but the best role models. Whilst many look outside our windows for role models, the most important role models a child has, like it or not, are their parents.

Our kids are reproductions of the life we live. Often it’s not about wanting the best for them, but showing them the best we can be, by eating well, exercising and enjoying life.  As Elenor Rosevelt said “Happiness is not a goal. It’s a by-product of a life well-lived”.

Live happy lives, spend time with your children, give them love and show them the ways to happiness and they’ll follow in your footsteps.


About the Author

Dr Trevor has a passion for helping people that goes beyond what most people expect. He has a knack for getting to issues quickly and an amazing knowledge for all things health and wellbeing. With extensive study in areas such as Physiology, Nutrition, Supplementation, Applied Kinesiology, Neuro Emotional Technique and Chiropractic, Dr Trevor's skills at working with a wide range of health and performance issues have become widely respected.

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