The Role of Prenatal Trauma in the Development of the Negative Birth Experience
Publication Date:March 1987
In this paper the author reviews and extends his previous researches into the negative birth experience. He notes that the incidence of the negative birth experience is constant at about 30% even in asymptomatic individuals who on further enquiry admit to restrictive feelings which have effectively limited their access to a full potential. The prominence of the negative birth experience in the production of certain symptom complexes is detailed. The negative birth experience is therefore to be considered a potent inhibiting factor to be dealt with therapeutically wherever it is discovered. In a consecutive series of 260 patients 76 (29%) indicated that they had negative birth experiences. Of these 48 (63%) reported prenatal experiences responsible for their negative feelings at birth. Some of these experiences are described. An investigation into the 61 cases of depression (having a high negative birth experience incidence of about 40%) reveals a high incidence of prenatal trauma of 77% in the 26 with a negative birth experience. These figures suggest that almost 20% (probably nearer 30% for cases of depression) of all patients attending for psychotherapy suffer from symptoms due at least in part to prenatal trauma. It is further postulated that this 20% is likely to remain inaccessible to psychotherapeutic approaches that ignore the role of prenatal trauma.
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