Apr 3, 2009

The Secret Life of the Unborn Child

by Thomas Verny

Here's another book I read way back when, about pregnancy. The Secret Life of the Unborn Child was written back when people were just beginning to question the routine use of technology in childbirth, and delves into ideas about how things experienced by the baby before or during birth, can affect it (positively or adversely) for life. It was really interesting to read about how the baby develops and all the things infants can sense while in the womb (light, sounds, etc). I think it's amazing that unborn babies can learn to recognize their parents' voices, or even certain melodies. I'm not sure if that means they can actually form memories while in the womb, like Verny claims. And other of his theories about how children can be emotionally scarred by medical interventions seemed rather far-fetched. I found the book to be both very intriguing, and worth of skepticism. I'm pretty sure many of the ideas in it have been further studied nowdays, so if you open its pages, read with a heavy dose of salt (and wonder).

Rating: 3/5                       256 pages, 1982


  1. I have to ask--did you take reading notes when you read these books? If not, I can't tell you how I envy your memory. I have troubles remembering books that I read last month let along years ago. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just not letting my books sink in enough.

  2. I did take brief reading notes- as far back as 2001- the notes for this book simply read "Written just when people were beginning to question the routine use of technology in and treatment of birth as a dangerous disease. Some of the theories I'm rather skeptical of, other ideas and anecdotes I find intriguing." It's enough to jog my memory to write a short review, and if I can I'll pick up a copy from the library again to thumb through. Only a few books really hit me strongly enough to leave a lasting, vivid memory- like those Jane Yolen dragon books I wrote about a week or so ago? Haven't read that series in at least four or five years, yet I remember them quite vividly.

  3. I guess there are a few that I remember more vividly than others as well, but it seems that if someone is asking me about a book there's always some detail where I say-"I don't remember that"!

  4. Trish- yeah. There's always plenty I don't remember.

  5. My son is now 26 years old. This book was invaluable to me when I was pregnant with him. The information garnered here lead me to an incredibly powerful experience. I listened to Vivaldi's Four Seasons all throughout my pregnancy. I cultivated peace and tranquility for my baby. I gave birth at home.

    I was blessed with an incredible child. A joyous, kind and sweet soul. He is an amazing man now, successful in every way, a wonderful member of our society and a happy, tranquil man.

    This book taught me a lot and I credit it with this lovely outcome. Every pregnant couple should read this.

  6. Anonymous5/23/2011

    My daughter is 22 now, and a beautiful, strong, caring, involved soul with sass and character. Yes, that has a lot to do with parenting, and some to do with just plain Grace. But the ideas in this book prompted me to make some serious adjustments to my life and attitude which I absolutely credit with the peace this child embodies. I was a troubled teen at the time.

    Yes, some of the conclusions are out there, but others have been explored in further research. Some really need further research, because if they are true, we need make some serious changes in the area of social justice. All in all, if you're a thinking person able to draw your own conclusions, this is a must read for your first trimester.


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