Parental steps before your child is born
Adapted from lectures given by Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad (ra) outlined in the book Way of the seekers
The first thing is to keep pure the thoughts and emotions which sway the parents, for parental thoughts and emotions also play their part in shaping the character of the child even at the pre-natal stage. The door to evil thoughts must be closed particularly while we are preparing to receive the child.
What can we do except, as far as possible, to keep our thoughts always pure and clean? If you desire to do your unborn children any good, then your own thoughts must also be pure. Islam has a recipe for situations like this. This recipe is that when husband and wife consort together, they should supplicate:
Shield us, O Allah, against Satan. and keep Satan away from whatever Thou might bestow upon us.
This supplication is not a magic incantation, nor is it a charm. It is not necessary either that its Arabic version must be employed. The substance of the prayer is that we say to God: O Allah, sin is a filthy thing, save us from it; and also safeguard our children against it. This prayer and this thought will act as a wall between the unborn child and the influences of Satan. The Holy Prophet, on whom be peace and blessings, has assured that the child born after this prayer will be free from Satanic influences.
Many people say that they have used this prayer but the result has not been as expected. Let me tell them that addressing the prayer like a magic formula or a charm is not enough. I am quite sure that many who complain use the prayer only as a charm. Secondly, this prayer does not cover all the subsequent delinquencies of which man is capable. Many learn evil habits after birth. Only the inheritable delinquencies are covered by this prayer.
After acquiring the disposition to sin at the parental stage, a child begins to develop sinful dispositions in his early childhood. Islam has expounded this great truth and has laid down that the training of the child should begin not only at birth, but long before birth. I almost think that the Holy Prophet (on him be peace and blessing) would have gone even further back. He would have laid down that the training of the child should begin while the child is still In his mother’s womb. But not many people would have been prepared to undertake the care of the unborn child during this delicate period. Therefore, the Holy Prophet (on him be peace) laid down that the training should begin at birth.