Letters to the Editor 4,3

Publication Date: 
03/1990

Dear Dr. Verny:

PPPANA is to be, in general, commended for bringing into focus the psychological aspects of pregnancy, birth and the perinatal period. It is an exciting time to be a member of this organization, and I look forward to participating in the 1989 Congress. However, I am writing today to express disappointment regarding a particular article in the Summer 1989 journal.

The article, by Rossi, et al, is Maternal stress and fetal motor behavior: a preliminary report. I find your publication of the article in its present state to represent an appalling lack of editorial judgment. The findings, which include only one significant difference in fetal movement, that being in duration of movement, are a weak framework indeed on which to base the statements of the Results and Discussion section. I am particularly concerned about the extensive, suggestive commentary on the combined-repetitive movements noted, when neither the differences in duration of these movements nor those in number of movements were statistically significant.

On p. 316, the authors state the following: \"previous research has shown fetal responses as a direct result of sudden traumatic environmental changes and/or the emotional state aroused in the mother by the stimuli. . . . Our study confirms that it is the latter which affects fetal motor behavior.\" The data presented simply are not strong enough to be considered to confirm such a differentiation.

Humility is generally expected from scientists reporting a preliminary study, particularly with such a preponderance of results which fail to reach statistical significance. Usually, further study and attempts to replicate results are suggested. No such humility is found here, and the publication of the article as it stands is, in my opinion, irresponsible on the part of the editorial board.

Yours truly,

Alice LoCicero Crawford, Ph.D.

Preconceptual Care, Incorporated is a new organization being established in the United States which we hope will become a sister organization to PPPANA. While PPPANA deals with the psychological aspects of pregnancy, Preconceptual Care, Inc. will work on the physical aspects of peri-conceptual and pregnancy periods, providing instructions and education in healthful lifestyles, improved nutrition, and the avoidance of toxic environmental hazards.

Most of those reading this letter will be aware of the ominous trends towards deteriorating health in our society, primarily seen in children, with rapidly increasing incidence of allergic, immunologic, behavioral disorders, and learning disabilities. If these adverse trends continue much longer, it may ultimately result in a disintegration of our society.

There is only one possible solution, and that is to apply all that we know concerning healthful living, nutrition, and the avoidance of environmental toxins to the periods of life when it counts the most; that is, to both prospective parents during the period surrounding conception and to the mother during pregnancy.

Jonathan Maberly, M.D. of Yorkshire, England has been quoted as saying that the most important period in an individual's life is from 6 months before conception through the first 1 or 2 years of life. Damage done during this critical period from adverse lifestyles, malnutrition, or toxic environmental hazards is often irreversible, and the best possible care at a later time may be of little use, being after the fact.

For solutions to this adverse health trend, we could do no better than look to Great Britain, where an organization called \"Foresight\" has developed a comprehensive program for preconceptual care. Starting their work in 1981, \"Foresight\" has worked with approximately 600 couples, almost all of whom had previously had problem pregnancies. Working with these couples at least 6 months before anticipated conception, they direct their efforts toward improved nutrition and reduced environmental toxins.

Their results have been incredibly successful, as shown by the following statistics: These recent statistics are based on 547 pregnancies:

Fifty couples entered the program because of infertility. They since have produced 60 healthy babies, including 3 sets of twins. These figures are even more impressive when we realize that compared to the national average, the couples in the Foresight program were a high risk group.

We propose to start an organization in the U.S.A. and Canada based on the \"Foresight\" model, with balanced emphasis on clinical care, research and documentation, and public education.

Those interested in obtaining further information should write to Carroll Thompson, Executive Director, International Academy of Nutrition and Preventive Medicine, Box 5832, Lincoln, Nebraska 68505.

Sincerely,

Harold Buttram