Genes Don’t Give Shape to a Baby. You Do.


— By Dr. Srilekha Kartik
Conceiving and nurturing a healthy child is every parent’s dream. A baby is the miraculous expression of the ultimate creative skill of nature. Two cells unite and manifest as a community of 50 trillion cells working in perfect harmony in a highly structured environment. Is there something more that parents can contribute to this ultimate happening, than just the genes in their germ cells and nourishment to the growing fetus? Are the character, behavior and health of the child a victim to the genes that he inherits?

Increasing scientific evidence is proving that parents can actively participate in this evolutionary journey to shape the fundamental characteristics of their baby, including his health and intelligence. Science has come a long way from the days of “genetic determinism” where everything that characterized a person was purely determined by the genes(nature) he inherited to “epigenetics”, where environmental factors and our perception of the same (nurture) are responsible for the genes to ‘turn on’ and express themselves [1].

Genes cannot self-actualize, that means they cannot turn themselves on or off. Gene expression is under the regulatory control of environmental signals [2]. The belief that nature determines the biology fosters the feelings of helplessness and victimhood. After all, no one can change the genes they inherited, nor control what genes they will pass on to their child. On the other hand when nurture is the ‘control’ mechanism, parents realize that they have a fundamental impact on the developmental expression of their offspring [3].

Science has now proved that nurture, i.e. perception of the environment and the attitude of parents, determines some fundamental characteristics of the baby. The baby begins its life even before conception in the physical, mental and emotional ecology of the parents. Their health and balance of body, mind, and very importantly their emotions, come together to create the baby’s physical, mental and emotional self.

Gestation is the first and most vital environment the baby will ever have, and has the greatest impact on him [4]. 50% of the baby’s intelligence can be determined by the prenatal and pre-conceptional environment. By living in fear, parents can short change the baby’s intelligence by 50%[5].

“It makes a difference whether we are conceived in love, haste or hate”, says Dr Thomas Verny, an eminent prenatal psychiatrist6.

These influences start manifesting even before the conception happens, starting from the time of the germ cell maturation. Interestingly, aboriginal cultures have recognized the influence of the conception environment for millennia. Prior to conceiving a child, couples ceremonially purify their minds and bodies through various practices and processes unique to their tradition.

The eN Pregnancy Care program offered by Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam is a blend of modern scientific revelations and ancient Vedic techniques and processes to help a pregnant couple steer through this beautiful journey and actualise the child of their dreams.

The question “How?” to consciously shape the baby in the womb will be addressed in the successive issues of the magazine.

1. Thaler, Science, 1994, 264: 224-225
2. Symer & Bender, Nature, 2001, 411: 146-149
3. Bruce Lipton, J of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology and Health
4. Turner JRG, International Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine ISSN 0943-5417
5. Delvin , et al, 1997; McGue 1997
6. Nurturing Your Child from Conception, 2002