Life in the Womb: Emotional Implications

What you go through in the womb will determine how you feel throughout life. Therefore, it's important to know what babies feel. Find out all about it in this article.
Life in the Womb: Emotional Implications
María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez.

Last update: 30 September, 2023

Although we’re still learning more and more about life in the womb, we still don’t know much about this important stage. Throughout this article, we’ll explore what babies feel during pregnancy, as well as what implications this has.

Life in the womb: what babies feel and suffer

Although for a long time specialists thought that development in the womb was completely biological, now they know that emotions play a role as well.

Mainly, women communicate their emotional state to their babies through hormones and physiological reactions. 

From the sixth week of pregnancy, babies are able to pick up the rhythmic noises around them. For example, they notice the movement of amniotic fluid or their mother’s heartbeat. In fact, they like these sensations.

From the 12th week onwards, babies are sensitive to their mother’s emotions. They can hear and recognize their mother’s voice and love hearing it. In fact, they know if their mother is calm or anxious, and they can tell if you’re talking lovingly or not.

Although babies don’t have these emotions, they do have feelings based on the thoughts, feelings and words they get from their mother. Therefore, they feel happiness, calmness, scared or startled.

Additionally, they learn to feel loved or rejected based on their mother’s reactions to them.

Emotional implications of life in the womb

Life in the womb has a bigger impact than you might think. Even this early, babies start to develop beliefs and behaviors that will accompany them throughout their lives.

Stress and anxiety are emotional states that they quickly learn. Babies who absorb negative and painful emotions during pregnancy are more at risk of having a difficult delivery.

In addition, they also have problems sleeping and are more likely to be colic, cry more and be less sociable. Also, it could affect their IQ and increase their risk of developing ADHD.

On the other hand, children who feel lots of positive emotions will be born at a heavier weight, eat and sleep without difficulty, and they’ll have better immune systems. They’ll be happy, peaceful and balanced people.

Additionally, if you frequently feel fulfilled and happy, your baby will remember that information in his cellular memory. Throughout his life, he’ll seek to experience those moments. Therefore, he’ll overall be happier.

Love your baby and he will love

However, it’s not only what you feel that will affect your baby’s emotional development. Also, what you think about him will have a huge impact.

Babies that live in happy environments, that receive everything they need from their mothers, will feel calm. They’ll experience security and love, and they’ll develop peacefully.

Children who are wanted develop knowing they’re loved and protected. Additionally, those feelings will accompany them during their adult life.

On the other hand, babies that aren’t planned and aren’t wanted, that don’t feel loved, grow up feeling rejected. They feel the negative emotions that their mothers have towards them, and live those nine months feeling insecure.

This is because the person who needs to give them love and nourishment and who they depend on completely doesn’t love them.

If a pregnant woman loses a loved one and that loss causes her to fall into a state of deep sadness and disconnect from her pregnancy, the baby will feel helpless.

On the contrary, if mothers suffer from stress or anxiety from work, their baby will feel those worries. If mothers feel abandoned or mistreated by their spouse, their baby will also feel abandoned and mistreated.

Life in the Womb: Emotional Implications

Positive life in the womb

What can you do to make sure your baby has a positive experience during life in the womb?

  • Talk to him, sing to him or read him stories. Develop an emotional bond with your baby with your voice and your partner’s voice. Give your baby sweet and affectionate words.
  • Try to put yourself in happy and positive places. Additionally, spend time in nature. You could go for a walk in the park.
  • Play soft music for your baby. This will help him feel calm and happy.
  • Visualize your baby with positive qualities. Imagine him being happy, successful, and loved in every stage of life.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.