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Trauma Can Start In The Womb

A growing and developing fetus is completely dependent upon the mother within whom it resides. Attached by the umbilical cord, a fetus receives air, food, water, and whatever else a mother digests, which is why a mother who abuses drugs or alcohol does a great deal of damage to her offspring. Sustenance and chemical input are not the only things a fetus receives from their mother. The fetus is also extremely sensitive to how a mother is feeling emotionally, what is going on in her internal environment, as well as what is happening in her external environment.

Just as born individuals are affected by everything they experience in life, the budding life form of a fetus is already being impacted by everything they are experiencing, though they aren’t grown yet. Trauma doesn’t necessarily have to occur to the mother for it to occur to the fetus, in the traditional idea of trauma. Guilt, shame, stress, and toxic emotional trauma can and often does compute into the growing fetus’ genetic makeup. Without a say or an ability to contest, emotionally traumatic experiences are transmitted to the fetus and coded into the very fiber of their being.

Paula Thomson wrote about trauma in the womb for Birth Psychology. “Early pre- and post-natal experiences, including early trauma, are encoded in the implicit memory of the fetus, located in the subcortical and deep limbic regions of the maturing brain.” Much research has found that the limbic system, when interrupted during early developmental stages, can contribute to PTSD and mental health problems later in life as it is a region for emotional regulation. “These memories will travel with us into our early days of infancy and beyond and more importantly,” she explains, “these early experiences set our ongoing physiological and psychological regulatory baselines.” Meaning, the experiences we have in the womb already start to set the course for how our bodies and our minds will respond to the world once we are born.

Traumas Experienced In Utero

A number of experiences can contribute to trauma experienced in utero.

        • Arguments
        • Verbal Stress
        • Emotional Stress
        • Chaos in the home environment
        • Alcoholism
        • Drug Addiction
        • Guilt
        • Shame
        • Physical Abuse
        • Poor Health
        • Neglect

In our next blog, we will look at how stress hormones can change the fetus and contribute to a higher risk for developing PTSD later in life.

At The Guest House Ocala, we welcome everyone who has experienced trauma and, as a result, is suffering from addictions, mental health disorders, or other manifestations. Our programs are custom tailored to the specific experiences and needs of each client. Everyone has a story. Change yours today. Call us at Call 1-855-483-7800.