Prenatal movement in the first trimester, and then the patterns of movement that form in the second trimester, are the expression of the developing baby's nervous system. This primary neurological unfolding is nourished and enhanced by parental awareness, dialogue and subtle touch on the mother's body that communicates to the baby. The entire family can participate in this encouragement. The knowledge of how to do this is inherent in each of us. It is part of the magnificent design of the human being. Excellent education is now available to stimulate and sustain this natural wisdom. Awakening to, trusting and acting upon our innate human connection is the joy of parenthood.
Prenatal movement is preparation for neonatal activity. It is also warm-up for the marathon of labor and delivery. It is designed to result in the baby's thrilling victory of entry into the arms of a world already sensed and perceived.
Movement patterns in prenates are replicated in neonates, demonstrating the continuity of neural behavior. The human fetus sleeps, breathes moves, eliminates, and feels, sees, cries, initiates and responds. He or she is acutely sensitive, as a result of constantly expanding neurological capacities, to the surrounding environment and its vicissitudes.
The prenate communicates its experiences the only way it can: through motility. Eye movement, heart-rate, respiration, gestures, and elimination patterns speak volumes about the individual prenatal world. The patterns that these expressions make, when attended to, add texture to our understanding of the quality of prenatal life. They also give us our first insights into who the unique being is within its mother's body.
Regularity of movement can be a sign of health whereas deceleration or lack of movement can signal distress or concern. Certain fetal movements may convey discomfort. By noticing movements or their absence, the family can come to know its new arrival and begin, well before birth, to integrate the baby into the family. Prenatal consciousness is neurologically organized to be present, alert and receptive. The unborn baby delights in recognition.