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How the First Nine Months Shape the Rest of Your Life

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This week's "Time" cover story suggests that our nine months of gestation constitute the most consequential period of our lives, permanently influencing the wiring of the brain and the functioning of organs such as the heart, liver and pancreas.

Time Magazine

Writer Annie Murphy Paul says that our time spent as fetuses might be more impactful than any of us have ever considered. "The nutrition you received in the womb; the pollutants, drugs and infections you were exposed to during gestation; your mother's health and state of mind while she was pregnant with you -- all these factors shaped you as a baby and continue to affect you to this day," she writes.

She introduces readers to a field known as "fetal origins." Scientists are exploring the possibility that intrauterine conditions influence not only our physical health (heart disease, obesity, even future cancer) but also our intelligence, temperament -- even our sanity.

Fascinating stuff ... but is this just one more thing for expectant moms to worry about?

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7 comments so far | Post a comment now
Jilly September 24, 2010, 9:05 AM

You know, everyday the media has intoduced a new topic of concern. When does it stop? Millions of people have survived these “horrors” and worse! Some of it is good, solid cooking food thoroughly or washing your hands to reduce spreading of germs, but I guess you writers have to dig up something, huh?

Shannon Kay September 26, 2010, 11:17 PM

I haven’t read the Time article but the idea doesn’t sound like one of the “horrors” stories to me. In fact, the idea that the time we spend before we’re born is so important sounds like a positive thing in general.

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