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Changing Childbirth Customs
Publication Date: 03/1991
Author(s): Beverley Chalmers

The meaning and usefulness of the concept of cross-cultural childbirth is questioned in this paper. Intracultural variations within Southern African Black women's experiences of childbirth are utilized to explore the validity of the cross-cultural concept. The question of universality or diversity of birth experiences is discussed. Possible universal elements of birth are suggested while factors determining variations in these experiences are proposed.

Postnatal Effects of Prenatal Exposure to Psychoactive Drugs
Publication Date: 03/1991
Author(s): Carol K Kellogg

Exposure to anxiolytic drugs during the third week of gestation in the rat leaves a lasting imprint on the organism. Functionally, animals exposed prenatally to diazepam (Valium) demonstrate alterations in arousal-attention and stress-related functions. Neural systems underlying these functions are also influenced by the early exposure. The effects of early diazepam exposure are related to the interaction of the drug in utero with specific binding sites in the fetal brain.

The Expression of Pre- and Perinatal Experience in Cultural Phenomena
Publication Date: 03/1991
Author(s): Ludwig Janus

Prenatal psychology is able to shed light on various experiences which appear to be creative mechanisms for coping with difficult situations of transition in life but which on closer inspection also seem to be re-enactments of pre-birth feelings and of birth itself. The symbolism of regression to the womb and of rebirth can be found in various cultural phenomena such as puberty rites, shamanism, the myths of great heroes, fairy tales, sacrificial rituals and initiation fights.

The Role of Kinesthesia in Pre- and Perinatal Bonding
Publication Date: 03/1991
Author(s): Frank W Hatch

At birth mother and infant are in a common state of "kinesthesia." This constitutes a "kinesthetic bond." It results from the motion tracking between mother and child throughout the pregnancy. They feel each others' motion by means of touch through the uterine wall. If the sensory information they use to define their relationship is disrupted by physical separation after birth, before other sensory modes of relating are established, the relationship may suffer.

Fetal Education: A Lesson from the Past
Publication Date: 12/1990
Author(s): G Justus Hofmeyr

During the 1960's, abdominal decompression during pregnancy was thought, on the basis of poorly controlled studies, to confer exceptional intelligence on the fetus. A carefully controlled study subsequently showed that this was not the case. Mothers who had received decompression treatment tended to give manifestly unrealistic accounts of their children's abilities, and their children differed temperamentally from the control group.

Sharing Space: A Proposed Course Outline on Pre- and Peri-Natal Psychology
Publication Date: 12/1990
Author(s): Thomas R Verny, Michael C Irving

Though there is mounting demand by students for information about Pre- and Peri-Natal Psychology there is no such course being offered at a recognized university at this time. The authors, in an attempt to facilitate discussion on this subject and eventual implementation have prepared a course outline.

Some Thoughts on the Cross-Cultural Study of Maternal Warmth and Detachment
Publication Date: 12/1990
Author(s): Janet Kestenberg Amighi

A number of studies have suggested that maternal detachment is common in tropical societies which suffer from high infant mortality. The author's own research revealed evidence of both detachment and positive affect. She suggests that maternal behavior in all societies can be best characterized as exhibiting maternal ambivalence.

The Influence of Maternal Emotions During Pregnancy on Fetal and Neonatal Behavior
Publication Date: 12/1990
Author(s): B R H Van den Bergh

The following problems are the leading questions of our research project: (1) Can the influence of maternal emotions upon fetal behavior be established in the prenatal period, using real-time ultrasound echography and cardiography? (2) Is the prenatal influence, established in the prenatal period, reflected in the neonatal behavior? And can we find significant correlations between maternal emotions during pregnancy on the one hand and neonatal and infant behavior-e.g.

The Role of Sex and Pregnancy in Satanic Cults
Publication Date: 12/1990
Author(s): Roberta G Sachs

The functional role of sex and pregnancy in transgenerational Satanic Cults is described and contrasted with its purpose in "normal" social groups. These observations are based on the reports of former Satanic cult members who are now being treated for some type of dissociative disorder. In "normal" social groups, the primary functions of sex and pregnancy center on perpetuating the gene pool of group members. In Satanic cults, however, the primary function of sex is to form a bond between some type of painful stimulation and physical pleasure.

Womb = Woman = World: Gender and Transcendence in Tibetan Tantric Buddhism
Publication Date: 12/1990
Author(s): Charles D Laughlin

The cosmologies of many cultures use gender as symbolic for polar attributes of human consciousness. The author presents a developmental neurobiological theory to account for the non-arbitrary way in which this attribution comes about, and applies the theory to an explanation of the symbolic use of gender in Tibetan tantric Buddhism. He concludes by discussing the implications of the theory for understanding the effects of positive and negative pre- and perinatal experiences upon the development of gender identity.

An Historical Overview of Midwifery in the United States
Publication Date: 10/1990
Author(s): Judy Barrett Litoff

This article provides an historical overview of the history of midwives in the United States from the seventeenth century to the present. Brief background information on the period prior to 1600 is included. The article shows how a profession that was traditionally considered to be "women's business" came to be dominated by a predominately male medical establishment. Special attention is given to the early twentieth-century "midwife debate." The origins of nurse-midwifery and the major factors which have contributed to the recent midwidfery renaissance are also considered.

On Narcissism and Masochism in the Fetus and the Neonate
Publication Date: 10/1990
Author(s): Judith S Kestenberg

The development of narcissism and masochism is examined by utilizing new data from movement observation, in general, and from observations and notation of fetal movement, in particular. This has led to the recognition that fetal movements are motor precursors of psychic functioning. The suggestion is made that both narcissism and masochism have their Anlage in utero. Because the fetus primarily grows and achieves progressive integration, the ratio between his integration and self-destruction favors the former.

Parent-Infant Holding Patterns and Their Impact on Infant Perceptual and Interactional Experience
Publication Date: 10/1990
Author(s): Georg Romer

The significance of parent-infant holding for infant development is emphasized from a psychobiological point of view as an essential ingredient of bonding. The theoretical perspective of direct perception in a perceiver-environment ecosystem (Gibson) is discussed together with current findings in infant research, as they may apply to explain how differential parent-infant holding patterns influence the infant's perception of his environment. Impacts of holding patterns on parent-infant-interaction are also mentioned. General qualities of facilitating holding patterns are elaborated.

Stimulus Differentiation by Preterm Infants Can Guide Caregivers
Publication Date: 10/1990
Author(s): Ruth Litovsky

Advances in modern medicine in recent years have resulted in a remarkable increase in the number of human infants who survive a premature birth. Many of these infants undergo stressful perinatal and prenatal experiences, and require special care and attention in order for their physical and mental development to be optimal. If that goal is to be met, care-givers need to receive feedback from the infants, indicating how they are affected by treatment and stimulation. In this study, preterm infants displayed behavioral differentiation of various tactile stimuli.

Parental Speech and Language Acquisition: An Anthropological Perspective
Publication Date: 05/1990
Author(s): Ben G Blount

The contribution of anthropology to the study of pre- and perinatal development will largely derive from the concept of culture, which is defined as the systems of meaning that members of society attribute to each other in their behavior. The concept is useful in the study of child language acquisition, since it necessitates a description of the ways that caretakers conceptualize their interactions with prelinguistic and language-acquiring children. Facilitative roles of parental speech are foregrounded, and meaning systems are made visible rather than overlooked or assumed.

Sociocultural Factors and Perinatal Development of Baganda Infants: The Precocity Issue
Publication Date: 05/1990
Author(s): Janet E Kilbride

Infant development among the Baganda of Uganda is discussed from a sociocultural perspective. Cross-cultural examples which illustrate cultural effects on infant behavior are presented. In particular, the area of sensorimotor development is examined by means of a social survey, direct observations and formal testing during the Muganda infant's first six or eight months of life. The pattern of advancement found supports the view that parental values and childcare behaviors influence rate of infant sensorimotor development.

The Cultural Roots of the Canadian Birthing System
Publication Date: 05/1990
Author(s): Lois James-Chetelat

Cross-culturally, birthing practices can be better understood by examining the central belief system of a given culture. Through a discussion of the ideology, symbol, and value inherent within the central belief system of the Canadian society, that of science and technology, as well as by examining the historical development of obstetrics, it is possible to explain how a system of maternity care which over-emphasizes technology and de-emphasizes the woman's role in birthing has gained dominance in this country.

The Evolution of Helplessness in the Human Infant and Its Significance for Pre- and Peri-Natal Psychology
Publication Date: 05/1990
Author(s): Wenda R Trevathan

As with most primates, optimal development in infancy proceeds with a high degree of intimacy and interaction between infants and caretakers. Human infants are less developed at birth than most primates because of selection for a greater percentage of brain growth to take place after birth than in utero.

Obstetrical Rituals and Cultural Anomaly: Part I
Publication Date: 03/1990
Author(s): Robbie Davis-Floyd

A constant reminder that babies come from women and nature, not from technology and culture, childbirth calls into question our attempts at technological dominance of nature, confronting American society with a series of conceptual dilemmas with practical, procedural ramifications: how to create a sense of cultural control over birth, a natural process resistant to such control? How to make a birth, a powerfully female phenomenon, reinforce, instead of undermine, the patriarchal system upon which American society is still based?

Pre- and Peri-Natal Psychology in a Developing Country
Publication Date: 03/1990
Author(s): Melita Kovacevic

Psychology dates to the early part of the twentieth century in Yugoslavia, but developments in the science have been slow for a number of reasons. Lag in technological development and lack of financial support have been characteristic. Furthermore, sociocultural and economic differences between the regions have made an even development of pre- and perinatal psychological awareness impossible. There is now conflict between cultural values relative to pregnancy, the life of the fetus and abortion. Medical advances and social change have produced problems faster than they can be solved.

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