Linking depression to pre-natal experience


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Researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London have found that the children of depressed mothers are three times as likely to have depression later in life and to experience ‘maltreatment’ at the hands of peers and other adults. This is line with previous research which suggests that brain development in the foetus is affected by the mother’s stress hormones.

In Rhythmic Movement Training we explore the ‘Fear Paralysis Reflex’ (FPR), the earliest response that the foetus has to stress. At the stage that this emerges, 5 – 7 weeks after conception, all that the foetus can do is to withdraw from the stress.  This reflex should be integrated by 12 weeks after conception. If the mother is in a constant state of stress it is likely that this reflex will not be integrated and that the baby will be born with an ‘addiction’ to the stress hormones. Stress will ‘run the show’ for the baby throughout life unless measures are taken to integrate the FPR. Typically, individuals with an unintegrated FPR are likely to exhibit the following:

  •     Constant anxiety
  •     Fears and phobias
  •     Shy, withdrawn behaviour
  •     Dislike of change
  •     Low self-esteem
  •     Dislike surprises
  •     Fears separation from loved ones
  •     Live in constant fear of social embarrassment
  •     Holds breath when stressed

Rhythmic Movement Training provides a gentle way to integrate the FPR and enable individuals to grow in confidence and self-esteem.