cover image TOMORROW'S BABY: The Art and Science of Parenting from Conception Through Infancy

TOMORROW'S BABY: The Art and Science of Parenting from Conception Through Infancy

Thomas R. Verny, . . Simon & Schuster, $25 (336pp) ISBN 978-0-684-87214-8

Verny (The Secret Life of the Unborn Child), a psychiatrist and founder of the Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology Association of America, firmly believes that the development of the embryo and fetus, particularly the brain, is affected by a variety of external factors including nutrition, stress, medication and exercise. Stimulation such as playing music for unborn children is less important, according to Verny, than the emotional state of the mother. "The prenatal classroom is better suited for lessons of intimacy, love, and trust than for intellectual calisthenics or IQ boosting." He is particularly concerned with pregnant women who are uneasy with impending parenthood, and cites much scientific evidence showing how prenatal maternal stress negatively effects the baby's physical development. Likewise, he shows how parental behavior and mood in general have a direct impact on their children. However, readers looking for practical parenting tools may be frustrated; much of his advice is very broad (he urges women to find emotional support during pregnancy, for instance), and parents will probably find it quite difficult to work out anxiety-provoking internal conflicts and eliminate stressors without more concrete—and perhaps professional—guidance. Yet while the book falls somewhat short as a hands-on guide, Verny's thought-provoking and impassioned arguments—and his engrossing descriptions of the infant's internal world—will likely raise awareness of how parents' emotional lives affect their developing baby. (Mar.)