Journal for Prenatal & Perinatal

Psychology & Health

34 Years of Peer-Reviewed Research

Journal For Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health (JOPPPAH)

JOPPPAH publishes research and clinical articles from the cutting edge of the science of prenatal and perinatal psychology and health. The journal, published continuously since 1986, is dedicated to the in-depth exploration human reproduction and pregnancy and the mental and emotional development of the unborn and newborn child. JOPPPAH invites original articles based on clinical work, experimental research, case studies, and self-report. Please review the guidelines for contributing authors by clicking on the link below and submit your articles to  We look forward to hearing from you.

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Letter from the Editor

Spring 2021 

Happy Spring and welcome to JOPPPAH’s 35th anniversary! After a year of writing heavier-than-usual editorials, I feel a glimmer of hope moving into the spring of 2021. Here in Colorado, the crocuses are popping up through the snow. The observance of daylight savings allows the sunlight to peek above the mountains for a little longer each day. And vaccinations for COVID-19 are finally being administered, even as we reckon with the many changes and losses a pandemic has wrought upon the world. Perhaps we too will begin to emerge from under the heavy blanket of snow or shine longer from behind the mountains, in some ways birthed anew this spring.

In celebration of our 35th anniversary, Dr. Thomas Verny, the founder of both APPPAH and its journal, states:

The first issue of what was then called the Pre- and Peri-Natal Psychology Journal was published in the Fall of 1986. Here we are 35 years later, better than I could have dreamed of way back then. We have a vibrant community of APPPAH members across the globe that is quickly expanding. Our educational division is putting out highly-informative programs every week that are very popular. And this journal is receiving submissions from leading practitioners and scientists from the USA and beyond. So, Happy Birth Day JOPPPAH and may the coming years bring you continued acclaim and success.

Our first article is a reprint from the very first journal issue: Enhancing Early Speech, Parental Bonding, and Infant Physical Development Using Prenatal Intervention in Standard Obstetric Practice, by Drs. Rene Van de Carr and Mark Lehrer. Having also just commemorated Birth Psychology Month this March with a focus on prenatal bonding, the Van de Carr and Lehrer article, with its similar focus, felt appropriate to share again. A novel concept at the time of its original printing, bonding and interacting with one’s prenate has been more widely studied and accepted by successive researchers and thought leaders in the field and offers solidity to the foundation of this organization.

Barbara Hotelling interviewed First Nation midwife, Catherine “Joyce” Leaf, regarding Leaf’s experience living, birthing, and working with her First Nation population in our second article, First Nation perspective interview. As we continue struggling to combat racism and injustice in the United States and around the world, we at APPPAH are committed to bringing you timely information, interviews, and articles that embrace the diversity and complex challenges of the many peoples inhabiting our planet.

More than a year into the pandemic, we are navigating the many devastating issues a tiny virus has inflicted on the population of its new human hosts. As expectant and new parents find their way through nurturing and birthing their babies during this uncertain time, the impacts of increased stress and isolation have become apparent. Our next two articles address these difficult impacts and are helpful in highlighting the importance of increased support for these new families.

Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Postpartum Depression: A Retrospective Case-Control Study on A Significant Sample of Mothers in Northern Italy by Drs. Pietro Madera, Cesare Romagnolo, Sebastiano Zanetti, Francesca Dal Maso, Martina Turro, and Chiara De Marco examine the significant increase in postpartum depression in Italian women who have given birth during the pandemic. The researchers also found an increase in birth pain management interventions with this same population.

Dr. Megan Conrad shares with us Anxiety, Fear, and Self-Efficacy in Pregnant Women in the United States During the COVID-19 Pandemic, where research participants reported high levels of anxiety and fear around childbirth. Increased fear was related to both perceived changes to their birth plans, and lowered expectations about the efficacy of coping mechanisms during childbirth. This study complements the previous study’s findings with a different population and psychoeducational interventions are recommended for expectant parents.

Early Traumatic Events & Implications for the Development of Emotional Connection: Two Case Studies Using Trauma Play Therapy with Children by Drs. Alin C. Cotigă and Antonia Stulz-Koller explores the relationship between challenging prenatal and birth memories and developing bonding and attachment between the parents and child. The authors also demonstrate how these challenges can be gently integrated in trauma play therapy.

Heather Olivier and Brittani Monroe bring us Relational-Cultural Theory as a Therapeutic Approach to Perinatal Loss, in which they examine using Relational-Cultural Theory with parents who have lost a baby during pregnancy, birth, or postpartum. The authors report “the model developed posits that through empowerment and self-empathy, clients can change relational images and increase relational resilience.”

Our first book review is by Barbara Decker on Pregnancy and Parenting after Loss, Different Baby, Different Story (2021), written by Joann O’Leary, Lynnda Parker, Margaret M. Murphy, and Jane Warland. Decker writes that this book should be on the shelves of both any parent who has lost a baby and is considering having another, and those who support these parents. She states: “The book can offer parents insight into how difficult it is to bond for fear of losing another baby, yet how important it is for the baby to feel safe and wanted by encouraging the parents to engage in bonding.”

Our second book review is by Keelee DeRosier, on Preparing for Parenthood: 55 Essential Conversations for Couples Becoming Families (2020), written by Stephanie Dueger, PhD. The book is a guide filled with open-ended discussion questions and practical action items; these help couples find their own best way to enter parenthood with a solid foundation of deep connection and alignment. However, those with older children may find the support useful as well, DeRosier states: “It feels important to say: it is okay if we did not have the gift of this book before becoming parents. We can begin the 55 Conversations right now. It is not too late to reflect and deepen our capacity for intimacy.”

Finally, we mourn the loss of Ray Castellino, a pioneer in the field of pre- and perinatal psychology, who passed away on December 13th, 2020. In his obituary, we hear from four people whose lives he touched.

We are so happy to celebrate this 35th year of the journal with you. This is the first of three JOPPPAH issues you will receive in 2021, as we have just switched to a triannual publication. We hope this new year brings with it much needed joy, promise, connection, and community for all on our planet.

Stephanie Dueger, PhD, LPC


APPPAH's Peer Reviewed Journal Publication Policies

Guidelines for Contributing Authors


The Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health accepts only original material that is not under consideration by any other publications. Articles should be word-processed and transmitted electronically as a Word document to the Editor. The Editor reserves the right to edit manuscripts for length, clarity, and conformity with the journal’s style. The author should retain his/her copy. American spelling should be used. The paper should be between 2,000 and 8,000 words with a 100–word abstract and at least three keywords. (See further guidelines for submitting a manuscript in the current APA Publication Manual (2020), specifically, “Author Responsibilities.”


The journal is interested in publishing theoretical and empirical articles utilizing data gained from clinical work, experimental research, case studies, and self-report. Among the areas of special interest are:


  • Psychological factors that affect conception, pregnancy, labor, birth and the postpartum period;
  • The reciprocal mechanisms of interaction between the pregnant mother and her unborn and sentient child and the mother and her newborn;
  • The influence of the family, society, and the environment on the pregnant mother and her unborn child;
  • Evidence-based measures that will improve the emotional well-being of mothers, fathers, and newborns;
  • The psychological effects of medical technology during conception, pregnancy, labor, and birth on all parties concerned;
  • Methods of prevention and intervention/resolution of prenatal and perinatal traumas with children and adults;
  • Interfaces between prenatal and perinatal psychology and medicine, genetics, developmental psychology, anthropology, ethics, and the law.


Illustrations, Figures and Tables


All illustrations and tables should be included separately from the manuscript (in a separate document) and should be clearly identified in Arabic numerals, showing which is the top of the illustration if this is not obvious. Tables must supplement the text without duplicating it. Refer to APA publication manual for detailed instructions on tables and figures. Illustrations should either be black-and-white glossy photographs or India ink drawings. Tables, figures, and illustrations should include an appropriate title and be in jpg or png file format. Keep in mind the 6x9 finished size of journal pages.


Other Requirements


Please include 50-100 word brief bio (total for all authors), as well as complete contact information for all authors.


APA Style

Formatting and referencing must follow APA style. References should be limited to work cited in the article. All cited material should be on the reference list.


American Psychological Association (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.