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Imaging techniques have permitted us to observe the prenatal environment, and the human fetus has been caught in the act of grasping its umbilical cord. One aspect of what I had much earlier envisioned was thus confirmed. Yet to be confirmed is that the fetus, by that activity, takes a hand in its own creation. Fetal cord manipulation, or hand-umbilical contact, can be equated to self-stimulation. This act fortuitously initiates a primitive emotional conditioning and complements some phases of physical gestational development. It predisposes the fetus to emotional experience of a particular sort, and is a preliminary to the love-bonding so essential to the healthy maturation of all human children. The cord becomes a major "consoling presence" within the limited space of the fetus.


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Mary F. Straub is a freelance writer and an independent researcher long interested in the human condition. She is a hypnotherapist and instructor of the history and practical application of meditation as it applies to health. Address correspondence to the author at: 7600 South Cork Avenue, Justice, IL 60458.

JOURNAL OF PRENATAL AND PERINATAL PSYCHOLOGY AND HEALTH publishes research and clinical articles from the cutting edge of the science of prenatal and perinatal psychology and health. The journal, published quarterly since 1986, is dedicated to the in-depth exploration human reproduction and pregnancy and the mental and emotional development of the unborn and newborn child.

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