Psychological Treatment of Birth Trauma With Age Regression and Its Relationship to Chemical Dependency
Publication Date:January 1986
1. Bobson, Pernoll, and Bendo; Diagnosis and Management of Fetus and Neonate at Risk, 4th Edition; "5-10% of newborn infants have some respiratory difficulty after birth . . . Meconium staining of amniotic fluid at birth is observed in 9-16% of all deliveries. The percentage dying of congenital anomalies incompatible with life has increased as asphyxia and related respiratory distress receive improved care or are prevented. Nevertheless, Perinatal asphyxia remains the chief factor in death and morbidity.
2. Despert, 1946, reported that anxiety (without external stimulus) or phobia (out of proportion to the external stimulus) was found in patients having a history of difficult birth including impaired breathing at birth.
3. Friedman, Kass, Sachtleben, and St. John: Placental Oxygen Consumption in Vitro: 611 infants with recorded Apgar scores, 113 (18.5%) incidence of neonatal depression-Apgar scores less than 4.
4. Goodwin, Care of the Fetus, p 42; "Among our patients, maternal cardiovascular dis ease is responsible for approximately 30% of cases of SGA ... As a rule, the degree of fetal retardation is directly proportional to the degree of maternal hypertension."
5. Keith and Norval, (1950) state, "The beginning of respiration after birth can be delayed about 15 minutes, and the human fetus at term is said to tolerate complete anoxia for as much as 30 minutes or an incomplete anoxia for a longer period."
6. Larsen ('31) Histories of 1,000 mental defectives found only 28 instances of asphyxia at birth; but brain injuries at birth, hemorrhage, use of forceps, long labor and prematurity made up 22% of the sample.
7. Little, Streissguth, Barr, and Herman: The Journal of Pediatrics, Vol. 96, No. 6, 1980, pp 974-977, Decreased Birth Weight in Infants of Women Who Abstained During Pregnancy. "That maternal alcohol abuse prior to conception is associated with intrauterine growth retardation, even if abstinence is reportedly maintained during pregnancy, suggests that a history of maternal alcoholism, as well as heavy drinking, may pose a risk to optimal development of the fetus."
8. McNeill and Wiegerink, Behavioral Patterns and Pregnancy and Birth Complication Histories in Psychologically Disturbed Children, (J. of Nervous and Mental Diseases, Vol. 152, No. 5) "Even though Pregnancy and Birth Complications (PBCs) are a feature of the disturbed subjects as a group, PBCs might be hypothesized as having a general stressor or diathesis-establishing role for psychological disturbance."
9.McPhail and Hall, Am. J. Obs. & Gyn, Vol. 42, 1971, p. 696; A Consideration of the Cause and Possible Late Effect of Anoxia in the Newborn Infant, "A high incidence of severe apnea was noted in the babies born of mothers who became excited. Regardless of cause, excitement is one of the first signs of cerebral anoxia. A baby born of a mother showing signs of anoxia would be very likely to be apneic at birth."
10. Pasamanic, et al., 1956, argued that toxemia and hypertension in pregnancy are more prone to produce fetal anoxia than the mechanical difficulties of delivery.
11. Dr. Reinold, [from Verny, op cit.] in a beautiful, simply designed experiment, asked pregnant women to lie prone for twenty to thirty minutes on a table under an ultrasound machine. He deliberately did not tell them that when a woman lies like this, her child eventually quiets down and lies still too. As each child relaxed, his mother was only told that the ultrasound screen showed her baby wasn't moving. The terror that information produced was expected and deliberate. Dr. Reinold wanted to see how quickly a mother's fear registered on her child and how he reacted when it did. In every case, the response was swift: seconds after each woman learned her child was lying motionless, the image on the ultrasound screen began stirring. None of the babies were in any imminent danger, but as soon as they sensed their mothers' distress, they began kicking mightily."
(Dr. Hull believes, however, that this action is evidence of oxygen deprivation as a result of the mother's distress.)
Verny, Thomas, M.D.; The Secret Life of the Unborn Child, p. 134. "A recent report from the University of North Carolina shows they (fearful women) also run a materially higher risk of incurring birth complications. Women in this study who had the longest labors, the most forceps-attended deliveries, and bore babies with the lowest Apgar scores also scored highest in testing on dependency, fears for self and fears for baby."
12.Rutt and Offord, Prenatal and Perinatal Complications in Childhood Schizophrenics and their Siblings, "Childhood Schizophrenics had a higher rate of prenatal complications than their siblings."
13. Sameroff and Chandler reviewed a number of studies that described the effects of chronic emotional disturbance, and more particularly, anxiety, in increasing the probability of pregnancy and delivery complications."
14. Sameroff and Zax, Perinatal Characteristics of the Offspring of Schizophrenic Women, (J. Nervous and Mental Diseases, Vol. 157, 1973, p. 191-199) "Chronicity of mental disorder was more strongly related to number of delivery complications than any particular psychiatric diagnosis . .. indicating a greater number of birth difficulties among Schizophrenic mothers than nonschizophrenic mothers. In addition, however, the neurotic depressives in our study show similar numbers of birth difficulties as the schizophrenic group.
15.Schreiber noted that 70% of a large group of children having brain defects were found to have been asphyxiated at birth. Amer. Journal of Obs. & Gyn, 1971.
16. Schreiber ('39)' In 252 children with mental deficiency, 176 (70%) had histories of anoxia at birth. ('38) In 500 children with symptoms of cerebral injury, 70% had history of apnea at birth.
17. Verny, op. cit.; p. 25, "The researchers began with the assumption that fetal activity is frequently an accurate sign of anxiety. If a child's behavior in the womb has any predictive meaning at all, they reasoned, the most active fetuses would one day grow into the most anxious youngsters. That is exactly what happened. The babies who moved around the most in utero grew into the most anxious children. They were not simply a bit more fretful than normal. They were bursting, bubbling over with anxiety. These two and three year olds felt an almost heartbreaking discomfort in even the most common social situations. They shied away from their teachers, from their schoolmates, from making friends, and from all human contact. They were most comfortable, most relaxed and least anxious when they were alone.) (and on p. 85, "Maternal emotions such as anger, anxiety and fear will also prompt furious kicking.")
18. Verny, op. cit. footnote p. 27, "There will always be people who will look for physical causes of emotional disturbances. However, after thousands of studies of schizophrenics and manic-depressives, no one chemical has been found in their blood systems the transfer of which would reproduce their symptoms."
19. Verny, op. cit.; The secret Life of the Unborn Child, p. 70, "The results from the subjective section were more enlightening. Peacefulness was the most commonly reported womb feeling (43%), but it was followed very closely by anxiety (41%). There was a high incidence of traumatic birth memories: Over 60% of the subjects said they had remembered feeling suffocated during birth . . ."
20. Verny, Thomas, M.D.; The secret Life of the Unborn Child, p. 71, "Like many other reports, mine also uncovered a strong correlation between maternal smoking and neurotic behavior, which isn't surprising, since, as we saw in the first chapter, smoking may predispose an unborn child to severe anxiety. The same negative correlation turns up with drinking, and though the physical effect of alcohol on the fetus is far more devastating than that of cigarettes, I believe, again, that what is being measured here is a psychological variable. The woman drinks more because she is disturbed and it is her negative feelings that really harm her child."
21. Verny, op. cit. p. 213, "Some behavioral problems are predictable prenatally and may appear immediately upon birth, as is the case with babies whose mothers are alcoholics or drug addicts. Similarly, babies whose mothers have undergone severe stress, as I described in some of the previous chapters, should receive special attention in the early postnatal period. Any baby that withdraws from being held, that constantly cries, that fails to gain weight may be communicating through these very ways his emotional distress.
Hyperactivity often begins in the womb, and the mother of such a child may report that he was a "whirling dervish" before birth, never giving her a moment's rest."
22.Windle, Neurological and Psychological Deficits of Asphyxia Neonatorum, 1958: "The same mechanism responsible for the production of the severe neuromuscular deficits can also be associated with more remote or delayed abnormalities that come to the fore only when the afflicted individual is in a stress situation. Thus a child may seem perfectly normal until his activities come up against competition or when he starts school and must adjust to new standards of behavior. Then the damaged brain can no longer cope with the situation, the child comes to the attention of teachers and the community as a behavior disorder.
23.Zax, Sameroff, and Babigian, Birth Outcomes in the Offspring of Mentally Disordered Women (Am. J. Orthopsychiatry, April 1977) "Children of neurotic, depressive women had lower Apgar scores and more fetal deaths."
Follow-Up Study From Birth of the Effects of Prenatal Stresses, Vol. 15, 1973, p. 773; "The association between personal tensions during the pregnancy, and hyperactivity in the child appears to be a very close one ... As an explanation of the close relationship found between prenatal interpersonal tensions and child morbidity, the postnatal interreaction of mother and child has little experimental support... Parallel study of perinatal death suggested that severe emotional stress during the pregnancy is more damaging to the child than physical illness."