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Publication Date: 
December, 1994
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This paper identifies women who are at greater potential for medical complications in their pregnancies due to post traumatic stress resulting from previous perinatal loss. The loss may have been suffered by the woman herself during a past pregnancy or she may have inherited heightened anxiety from perinatal loss experienced by her mother. In the latter case, the unresolved grief is transmitted from mother to daughter, affecting physiological, emotional and behavioral patterns in the next generation. Pregnancy presents an opportunity for healing. Given effective prenatal counseling by a trained clinician, perinatal loss issues can be addressed through body-centered hypnosis so that history does not repeat itself. Left untreated, post traumatic stress can produce crippling anxiety for the pregnant woman, contributing to complications of pregnancy, childbirth and even parenting.


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Gayle Peterson, Ph.D., MSW

Gayle Peterson, Ph.D., MSW has done pioneering research into preventing complications in pregnancy and childbirth since 1973. She is the author of Birthing Normally and An Easier Childbirth. Dr Peterson is in private practice in Berkeley, California specializing in perinatal psychology and early family development. She currently trains psychotherapists and childbirth educators in a year-long certification program for prenatal counseling. She can be reached for correspondence, communication and information on her preventive prenatal counseling training program at 1749 Vine St., Berkeley, CA 94703.