Who has not heard the story from Mahabharat in which - as an unborn child in his mother’s womb - brave Abhimanyu learned to enter the deadly defence formation called Chakravyuha as his father the great warrior Arjuna narrated it to the pregnant Draupadi? The Mahabharata epic explains that Abhimanyu heard only the cracking of Chakravyuha and the entering part and missed the part where the father taught the art and craft of escaping alive out of it - as his pregnant mother fell asleep during that part and thus so did the foetus.Not to debate if epics are true stories or not, what we are suggesting is that for ages now our ancestors have been saying that the unborn baby sponges off the mother's feelings of joy, anxiety, fear, happiness etc. The only problem was that it could not be scientifically claimed so, yet.But now science has proof of it. Science Daily reports that as a foetus grows, it's constantly getting messages from its mother. It's not just hearing her heartbeat and whatever music she might play to her belly; it also gets chemical signals through the placenta. A new study, which will be published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that this includes signals about the mother's mental state. If the mother is depressed, that affects how the baby develops after it's born.In recent decades, researchers have found that the environment a foetus is growing up in -- the mother's womb -- is very important. Even subtle things make a difference.Researchers at the University of California-Irvine study how the mother's psychological state affects a developing foetus. For this study, they recruited pregnant women and checked them for depression before and after they gave birth. They also gave their babies tests after they were born to see how well they were developing.They found something interesting: What mattered to the babies was that the environment remained consistent before and after birth. Researchers found that over time, the babies who did best were those who either had mothers who were healthy both before and after birth and those whose mothers were depressed before birth and stayed depressed afterwards. Consistency. Now, the cynical interpretation of our results would be that if a mother is depressed before birth, you should leave her that way for the well-being of the infant. Better put, watch out for signs of depression in women even before they conceive, and help them st=eer their physical and mental health in a better state before conception. Treat women who present with prenatal depression. Sandman says. "We know how to deal with depression." The problem is, that women are rarely screened for depression before birth."We believe that the human foetus is an active participant in its own development and is collecting information for life after birth," Curt A Sandman - a study author from the team says. "It's preparing for life based on messages the mom is providing."The study is entitled, "Prescient human fetuses thrive."Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.