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JOURNAL OF PRENATAL AND PERINATAL PSYCHOLOGY AND HEALTH publishes research and clinical articles from the cutting edge of the science of prenatal and perinatal psychology and health. The journal, published quarterly 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.


Volume 34, Issue 1

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Current Issue > Volume 34, Issue 1

Publication Date: 09/2019
Journal Articles:
  • A Meta-Synthesis Exploring the Experience of Postpartum Psychosis
  • Open and Closed Knowledge Systems, The Four Stages of Cognition, and the Cultural Management of Birth: Part 1
  • Validating an Observational Measure of Prenatal Emotional Availability among Mothers with Depressive Symptoms
  • Epilinguistics Inside Epigenetics
  • Book Review by Stephanie DeRosier: Cordless by Thomas Raphael Verny
  • Book Review by Jeane Rhodes: Babies are Cosmic: Signs of Their Secret Intelligence by Elizabeth Carmen and Neil Carman


As summer begins winding down here in the Northern Hemisphere, I want to take this opportunity to remind everyone that the 2019 International Congress is less than three months away. The Congress, titled Cultural Impacts of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology: Past, Present, and Future, will take place in Denver, CO from November 7-10. The wonderful lineup of presenters, pre- and post-congress workshops, and the registration link can all be found at https://birthpsychology.com/2019-congress/welcome.

This issue brings you four excellent articles and two book reviews. We begin with “A Meta-Synthesis Exploring the Experience of Postpartum Psychosis” by Sophie Wicks, Anna Tickle, and Vanessa Dale-Hewitt from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom. In this meta-ethnography, twelve qualitative studies on postpartum psychosis were examined. The authors developed four themes from their research: support needs and preferences; the terrifying and surreal world of postpartum psychosis; stigma and dismissal; and process of recovery. They conclude with highlighting elements that may help support women and their families through this postpartum mental health crisis.

Next, we bring you part one of a two-part article by Robbie Davis-Floyd: “Open and Closed Knowledge Systems, the Four Stages of Cognition, and the Cultural Management of Birth.” Davis-Floyd uses her extensive knowledge and research to frame the resistance to and acceptance of pre- and perinatal psychology and other ways of thinking about birth by describing four stages of cognition and their anthropological equivalents. The author describes how the stages move from closed to progressively more open, but emphasizes how individuals may be open in some areas of their lives while remaining more closed in others. Part two of this article will appear in the following issue of JOPPPAH.

Our third article hails from Finland, written by Saara J. Salo, Marjo Flykt, Sanna Isosävi, Raija-Leena Punamäki, Mirjam Kalland, Zeynep Biringen, and Marjukka Pajulo. In “Validating an Observational Measure of Prenatal Emotional Availability among Mothers with Depressive Symptoms,” the authors describe a new observational measure for assessing a mother’s prenatal emotional availability in relationship towards her unborn baby. Using concurrent associations between a mother’s prenatal emotional availability, her adult attachment style, and prenatal maternal reflective functioning, researchers examined 45 pregnant women with depressive symptoms using a videotaped, semi-structured maternal-fetal interaction assessment procedure. The authors describe how their results demonstrated that observed emotional availability may be assessed during pregnancy.

In our Sharing Space, Luisella Magnani and Massimo Agosti from Italy offer “Epilinguistics Inside Epigenetics.” The authors describe the importance of the words we choose to use, especially when working with expectant and new mothers and their babies. They argue science is beginning to discover that the way words are chosen can improve the neural functioning of the brain and have the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.

Finally, we have included two book reviews. JOPPPAH’s managing editor, Stephanie DeRosier, reviews Cordless (2014) a collection of poems by Thomas Verny, APPPAH’s founder. The poems reflect Verny’s myriad personal and professional experiences throughout his lifetime; according to DeRosier, “Nothing about life is left untouched, from the deeply religious to those personally poignant moments of intimate failures, passion, and undying love.” JOPPPAH’s associate editor, Jeane Rhodes reviews Babies are Cosmic: Signs of Their Secret Intelligence (2019) by Elizabeth Carman and Neil Carman, PhD–the authors’ third book. According to Rhodes, the book investigates the spiritual dimensions of life before birth, using research from many leaders of the field of pre- and perinatal psychology, as well as accounts of children’s pre-birth memories.

We hope you enjoy this issue. Thank you for your continued support of JOPPPAH through your APPPAH membership. As always, we welcome your comments, which you can post on the journal pages of our website or send via email to the editors at journal.editor@birthpsychology.com. We hope to see you at the International Congress in November.


Stephanie Dueger, PhD, LPC