Do Anxious Mothers Produce Anxious Babies?

If babies are aware and listening, does that mean they are affected by the mother’s anxiety or negativity?

Pregnant women have secretly wondered—and ironically worried—whether their negative emotions during pregnancy impact their baby, and researchers have been on the case.

Crying Baby Boy

Dr Marcy Axness, PhD, explores in her book Parenting for Peace how the lifelong emotional health and wellbeing of a child is directly affected by the experiences of the mother during pregnancy. Scientists have acknowledged a pregnant mothers’ moods significantly impact the brain development of her baby.

While occasional stress is not a real concern, a pregnant woman who is in a state of constant anxiety will have elevated stress hormones that “communicate” to her baby that he or she is in an unsafe environment, despite the fact this may not be true!

The constant stimulation by the stress hormones causes the baby’s cells to mutate and prepare for a delivery into the unsafe environment that it perceives is the world outside the womb.

Dr Axness writes, “Chronic stress in pregnancy tends to sculpt a brain suited to survive in dangerous environments: short of attention, quick to react, with reduced impulse control, with a dampened capacity to feel calm and content.

This makes for a temperamental baby, difficult to soothe and calm, a baby who is challenging to parent”.

Therefore, if the mother experiences chronic stress during pregnancy, it can create a temperamental baby who is a challenge to the parent and difficult to soothe and calm. This sadly sets the initial relationship up between parent and child as one of struggle, while being unable to connect in a loving and satisfying way.

The scientific evidence from the field of neuroscience is backing up what spiritual wisdom has been alluding to throughout time; that our experience in the womb is preparing us for our lifelong lessons about who we are and how we are going to fit into the world around us.

We can use this amazing knowledge to ensure we feel supported, loved and safe in order to influence the fundamental brain development of the foetus in a positive way. Thus setting the child up to be born with the idea of love and safety and not ready to tackle a dangerous world!

*A preview extract from the book A Modern Woman’s Guide to a Natural Empowering Birth by Katrina Zaslavsky


Marcy Axness, PhD, is an early development specialist, popular international speaker, and author of Parenting for Peace: Raising the Next Generation of Peacemakers. She is a top blogger at and a member of their expert panel. Featured in several documentary films as an expert in adoption, prenatal development and Waldorf education, Dr. Axness has a private practice coaching parents-in-progress. She considers as one of her most important credentials that she raised two peacemakers to share with the world — Ian and Eve, both in their twenties.

You can connect with Marcy here.

She is also one of the valued expert contributors to the book A Modern Woman’s Guide to a Natural Empowering Birth, a collection of inspiring birth stories, expert tips and practical insights to reclaim our birth power and overcome our fears in a modern world Now available worldwide as a gorgeous embossed paperback from our inspiring birth store, all good bookstores Australia-wide and as a kindle e-book on Amazon!


Find out what Dr Marcy Axness has to say about A Modern Woman’s Guide to a Natural Empowering Birth here.

About Katrina Zaslavsky

Katrina is an inspired international author, speaker and voice for women. A former public health professional turned mum on a mission and now editor, coach and practitioner, she is making positive waves across the globe as founder of Birth Goddess, committed to being a part of the “Positive Birth Revolution” and empowering women for motherhood.
Her book, A Modern Woman’s Guide to a Natural Empowering Birth, is a collection of inspiring birth stories (afterword by Dr Sarah Buckley MD) and shares how she overcame her extreme fears of childbirth and discovered inner peace and power she didn’t know she had. One of her biggest personal revelations that she would love to shout from every rooftop? “When birth is no longer feared, numbed or endured it has the opportunity to become one of the most powerful, positive and transformative things a woman will ever experience in her lifetime."

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