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In Utero Trauma and Childhood Development

From the moment of conception, our journey through life begins in the sacred and mysterious space of the womb. It is within this delicate cocoon that the foundation for our physical, emotional, and psychological well-being is laid. The fetal brain develops rapidly and is particularly vulnerable to stress (Davis et al., 2007). Unresolved trauma and stress during pregnancy affects the developing fetus and has long term consequences for mental health, immunity and emotional self regulation. Healing the deeper and often more hidden imprints and root causes of in utero trauma that are held in your nervous system is a key component of the work I do. Please reach out to me for more information and guidance on healing support.

What Can Trigger In Utero Trauma?

  1. History of unresolved trauma especially trauma that affects the womb, pelvis and emotional connection

  2. History of auto immune conditions or chronic illnesses that are unresolved prior to pregnancy

  3. Stress and trauma at conception

  4. Heightened stress throughout the pregnancy

  5. Sudden abandonment during pregnancy

  6. Emotional neglect during pregnancy

  7. Lack of emotional connection to self and child during pregnancy

  8. Either parent not wanting a child in the first place

  9. Violent conception / rape

  10. Toxic relationship between parents / domestic violence

  11. Emotional abuse during pregnancy

  12. Substance abuse including prescription medication

  13. Continued use of alcohol during pregnancy

  14. Malnutrition and poverty

  15. Exposure to environmental toxins

  16. Premature birth

  17. Birth complications and violations

  18. Excessive medical interventions during pregnancy

  19. Medical interventions during pregnancy or birth (such as induction or cesarean section)

  20. Anti depressants taken during pregnancy

  21. Big traumas during pregnancy including loss / separation / grief

  22. Genetic or Chromosomal Abnormalities

How Utero trauma affects our Nervous System

  1. Changes in Brain Structure: Studies have found that in utero trauma can cause alterations in the structure of the fetal brain, potentially affecting its development and functioning. (Reference: Davis et al., 2019)

  2. Impact on Brain Function: Trauma during pregnancy can influence the way the fetal brain and central nervous system work, which may lead to chronic health conditions, compromised immunity and mental health issues later in life. (Reference: Marques et al., 2020)

  3. Epigenetic Changes: In utero trauma has been linked to epigenetic alterations in the HPA axis, affecting the way genes are expressed in the child's body. (Reference: Kundakovic & Jaric, 2017)

  4. Neurotoxic Effects: Exposure to maternal stress hormones due to trauma can have neurotoxic effects on the developing brain. (Reference: Heim et al., 2016)

  5. Imbalance in Neuroendocrine System: Trauma during pregnancy can lead to an excess of glucocorticoids in the fetal system, affecting the balance of the neuroendocrine system. (Reference: Seckl et al., 2000)

  6. Disruptions in Fetal Nervous System: Prenatal stress and trauma can be linked to disruptions in the development of the fetal nervous system, which may increase the risk of neurological disorders and mental health conditions in childhood and later life. (Reference: Spencer & Deak, 2017)

  7. Influence on Synaptic Formation: Research suggests that in utero trauma can impact the formation of synapses in the developing brain, affecting how different brain areas communicate with each other. (Reference: Levitt, 2003)

How In Utero Trauma affects our Mental Health

  1. Memory and Learning via the Hippocampus: The hippocampus is crucial for memory formation and learning. In utero trauma can lead to changes in the size and connectivity of this region, potentially impacting memory and cognitive functions later in life.

  2. Processing of Emotions and Regulation of Fear via the Amygdala: The amygdala plays a key role in processing emotions, especially fear and anxiety. Traumatic experiences during pregnancy can influence the development and functioning of this region, potentially affecting emotional regulation in the child's later life.

  3. Decision Making and Social Interactions via the Prefrontal Cortex: The prefrontal cortex is responsible for higher-order cognitive functions, decision-making, and social behavior. In utero trauma may disrupt the development of this area, leading to challenges in executive functions and social interactions.

  4. Connection and Creativity via the Corpus Callosum: The corpus callosum is a bundle of nerve fibers that connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain. In utero trauma may affect the development of this structure, potentially impacting communication between the brain's two hemispheres.

Consequences of holding In Utero Trauma

  1. Sensory Development: Disruptions in a child's sensory processing, leading to difficulties in regulating and integrating sensory information, potentially causing sensory hypersensitivity or hypo-sensitivity. This can lead to overwhelm when sensations are felt. It can also trigger migraines, seizures and symptoms of tinnitus in adulthood.

  2. Dissociation: The psychological defence mechanism where a child disconnects from their thoughts, emotions, or memories as a way to cope with overwhelming or traumatic experiences. This leads to numbness, de-realisation and can lead to suicidal ideation.

  3. Maladaptive Attachment: Difficulties in forming healthy and secure attachments with caregivers, resulting in patterns of insecure, avoidant, or disorganized attachment styles. This also results in being unable to form trusted relationships with others because of fear of being hurt, abandoned or betrayed.

  4. Emotional Dysregulation: Challenges in effectively regulating emotions, leading to difficulties in identifying, naming, feeling, managing and expressing emotions appropriately. In adults it is often characterised by intense emotional reactions or emotional numbing and shut down.

  5. Behavioural Dysregulation: Disruptions in behavioural control and regulation, manifesting as impulsive, aggressive, or self-destructive behaviours, or conversely, withdrawal and avoidance. In adulthood this can lead to self destructive patterns and self sabotage.

  6. Cognitive Impairment: Adverse effects on cognitive development, including difficulties in attention, memory, executive functioning, and learning, which may impact academic performance and overall cognitive abilities. As an adult this can make it difficult to learn new skills and adapt to new environments especially in the workplace.

  7. Self-Concept and Identity Development: Disturbances in the formation of a cohesive and positive sense of self, resulting in toxic guilt, shame, low self-esteem, self-worth, and challenges in establishing a stable and coherent identity.


Journeys of Transformation- What Clients Say

Hi Safa, I wanted to share some amazing news !!! Actually I’m super excited to share this with you... it’s been 3 weeks since we finished my 1:1 sessions... I ran for the first time and guess what I didn’t even use my inhaler !! I always have to use my inhaler before I do any work out; ever since I was little .... as you know I was born with asthma and don’t know life without asthma - I usually take my inhaler a lot from winter to March due to the cold weather and in the summer due to allergies so basically I’m on it all the time ! I’ve tested this out three times now (I was scared when I didn’t take my inhaler the first time round) so: Day 1 I started off with a brisk walk and a light jog... no wheezing ... Day 2 I started off with a light jog and kept a consistent flow - no wheezing !! Day 3 I started off with a light jog and now I am running and guess bloody what NO WHEEZING !!! I ran 12 whole minutes with no issues with my breathing the only reason why I stopped was cause I got tired lol !! I never thought in a million years I would be running like this !! Thank you for my new set of lungs ! Honestly I am speechless as I never thought this was possible !!! I feel now i need to keep trusting my body as it’s an amazing power machine that is so grateful to your healing and for safely taking me back to the utero to do this !!!

-Heenal, UK

"I was born through emergency C-Section and I was a planned adoption. My adoptive parents collected me when I was 2 weeks old. I wanted to know more about how I came into this world and why life had been so difficult for me. Through healing I had huge releases from my primal nervous system. It felt like ‘stuff’ was being pulled from my body because it was no longer needed. I started to feel the expansive, spacious and nurturing world which was new to me. The answers I had been looking for, in relation to my birth and biological mother were not there. However, there was now a deeper a sense of knowing that ‘not knowing’ was perfect, it was part of my path and mystery. I finally felt safe. Through this journey I have become more deeply embodied in my own womb, I have released trauma and fear imprints from in utero. I am more at one with the universe and myself. With this embodied knowledge I feel limitless freedom." -Sara, UK

"I came to see Safa because I was deeply traumatised. I had trauma from in utero where I felt rejected and unwanted because of my mum's unresolved pain. Safa cleared the imprints of in utero trauma that was held in my ovaries, womb, throat, heart, liver and my entire energy field. Through the healing work I began to feel my body and spine again, and I reconnected to my pelvis and womb. Finally, I felt like a woman! Safa also did powerful ancestral healing work on both the masculine and feminine lines. In just 12 weeks I experienced a big shift in my body and my level of consciousness. I can now feel self love and I trust myself again. I am speechless by the depth of transformation in this short amount of time. Through the healing work I have done with Safa, my family are now shining. I see the sun in their eyes!" -Simona, USA

I have no words to describe it. I had alot of negative feelings from in utero of aggression and compression. I was able to understand that this was the root cause of my aversion to life, my anxiety, my fear and my toxic relationships. I realised how ancestral patterns of separation had played through me. This was causing my constant invading thoughts about how wrong I am- my shame. Through this healing work I have experienced a real alchemical teaching and learning. I can understand the past and forgive. I have healed a huge burden that I have carried my whole life. I have opened up to my womb and my feminine energy. I have no words. My love, blessings and admiration to you, Safa. Ana- Slovenia

Safa!!! You are pure fire 🔥🔥🔥

I healed my in utero trauma with Safa.

I felt so much happening that I don’t think I can remember it all!!!

I found myself needing to turn to fetal position. I swam in deep oceans, rode waves, and felt an enveloping comfort and warmth in my body for the first time ever.

I can’t coherently explain it all. It was amazing -Luisa, USA

Wow!! There was so much healing, imagery and stuff. I was held in a container of deep peace and stillness. I saw myself floating in womb as a little baby. I felt comfort and peace for the first time. Light filled my frontal cortex, amygdala, hippocampus and pons. I knew I was healing my in utero trauma. I felt deeper or clearer connection with my heart and womb. My grandfather appeared and told me that he is watching over me. I saw my masculine ancestors, kind and loving towards me. I felt accepted and protected. Thank you from the depths of my heart Safa


5 Podcasts to listen to

  1. 10 min meditation to soothe your inner child

  2. 20 min grounding practice

  3. Guided womb meditation

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