Thomas Verny, psychiatrist and founder of the Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Association of North America (PPPANA), is one of the world's leading authorities on the effect of the prenatal and early postnatal environment on personality development.
In his book, Nurturing the Unborn Child, which he co-wrote with Pamela Weintraub, Verny shows you how to nurture your baby through communication and stimulation throughout the prenatal period.
Verny says, "In our experience, nothing gives a child a more solid foundation in life than the experience of being loved and wanted in the womb."
He adds that the crucial part of the program is peace, harmony and togetherness within the family.
You - The Womb Harmonics program aims to improve your baby's emotional wellbeing by improving yours. Verny says, "As you begin to apply our system you will first of all relax yourself, eliminating or reducing the production of stress hormones such as adrenaline and noradrenaline, which may flow across the placental wall to reach your unborn child." As well as the warnings most pregnant women get concerning alcohol, tobacco and drugs, the program also takes into account what Verny calls "the inner emotional experience" of your pregnancy.
The Exercises - Throughout the program, on a monthly basis, Verny suggests exercises to reduce your stress for your baby's benefit, and to communicate with your baby through sound, emotions and touch. In total there are over 47 exercises, but Verny suggests adapting and choosing the ones best suited to you and your circumstances.
Sound - Verny uses music in his exercises to relieve stress in you and to calm or soothe your unborn baby, again working on the principal that each of you needs the other to be stress free. He says his research shows that it is optimal to listen to relaxing music for an hour, at least twice a week, throughout pregnancy. He also advocates singing, talking and reading to your baby, starting in the fifth month, when your baby can sense your sounds. Verny says, "As your baby's sense of hearing becomes increasingly acute, your voice will be a constant and gentle encouragement for his growth." He also explains how your heartbeat helps your baby grow emotionally. "Its steady thump-thump comes to symbolize tranquility, security, and love to him. In its presence, he usually flourishes."
Touch - From month six, Verny introduces touch to his repertoire of exercises, to enhance your baby's ability to relax and respond to you. He shows you how to dance with your unborn baby, saying, "Because of the deep connection between movement and emotion, dance is an excellent way to communicate your feelings to the unborn." He also explains how to increase the emotional bonds through massage. "If you lovingly caress your abdomen, your unborn child will sense that touch and respond to it by moving in a slow luxurious fashion as warmth and relaxation set in."
Emotions - By month seven, your baby is receptive to your inner emotional state, and Verny encourages communication with your baby through thoughts and dreams. He also shows you how to breathe deeply and rhythmically to deepen the psychological connection with your baby.