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The definition of maternal impressions is that a profound and sudden impression made on the mother's mind may pervert or stop the growth, or cause defect in the child with which she is pregnant.
Maternal influences over the young have been recognized from the earliest history of man. The thirtieth chapter of Genesis gives Jacob's policy whereby he became rich. He pilled the rods of green poplar, hazel and chestnut and set them before Laban's herd and by maternal impressions he colored enough of the herd in ten or a dozen years to become rich.
And the next chapter tells us of Rachel's influence over Joseph and Benjamin to impress the race of mankind.
While this force has been recognized among all nations of people, it is only in the last few years that an attempt has been made to separate the truisms from the superstitions on this subject. In
BATMAN WF. MATERNAL IMPRESSIONS.. JAMA. 1896;XXVII(20):1031-1032. doi:10.1001/jama.1896.02430980003001a