The Enduring Effects of Prenatal Experience: Echoes from the Womb

Reviewed Publisher: 
Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1997, 277 pages. (Originally published in German in 1991 by Hoffmann und Campe, Verlag, Hamburg.) ISBN 1-56821-853-2.
Reviewed Title: 
The Enduring Effects of Prenatal Experience: Echoes from the Womb
Reviewed Author: 

This English translation of Dr. Janus's truly comprehensive book is a wonderful gift to those of us who do not read German well enough to delve into the pre- and perinatal literature available in that language. Not only do we have his clear writing and thinking, but many quotations are included from other German-language texts and articles. Particularly striking are the extensive quotes from an article (in the Internationale Zeitschrift fur Psychoanalyse) by an English midwife (Dorothy Garley, 1924), demonstrating an unusual degree of sensitivity and depth of understanding with regard to the baby's experience of prenatal life and the process of birth. The nearly four hundred references contain not only the predominant German and English writings, but French and Indian contributions as well. These references also span the centuries, including a 1674 work by Malebranche. This book is a significant contribution to the literature of pre- and perinatal psychology and a valuable reference to other works. Do not let this scholarly aspect intimidate you, this is a very accessible book. It is organized into well defined subject areas, including pre- and perinatal aspects of developmental psychology and the cultural manifestations of pre- and perinatal experiences. The chapter addressing disturbances resulting from pre- and perinatal trauma will be especially helpful to those investigating the links to various psychological diagnoses. Both theory and application of theory are abundant, satisfying the needs of readers from the wide spectrum of those interested in pre- and perinatal psychology. This book is symbolic of the coming together of wisdom from many times and cultures which will lead us into the next century with a greater understanding of what it means to be human-and, most importantly, the impact that prenatal and birth experiences have on human beings.

Publication Date: 
12/1997