Why can't pre-born babies be baptized?

I am a theology teacher at a catholic high school. One of my students stumped me with a question in class. We were talking about Baptism and why the Church teaches the importance of baptizing infants, the removal of orginal sin, and the reception of grace. The student asked that if the Church also teaches that human life begins at conception and if Baptism is so important why don’t we have Baptisms during pregnany. I know the Church says the child must be born, but I am not sure why. Thank you!

Actually, the Church doesn’t say that a child must be born to be baptized (see Can the unborn be baptized?). However, baptism “is validly conferred only by a washing of true water with the proper form of words” (Code of Canon Law, 849). Under normal circumstances, this is not something which can be safely done – at least not presently.

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