The theme that weaves in and through our three articles in this issue is that a number of psychological aspects of mothers' experiences and conditions before and after birth can affect the postpartum period. The emphasis may be primarily on the mothers (and also to the mother-infant relationships), but these studies can be added to the growing body of literature where examining the mother's experiences can shed light on what is going on in the child as well.
The first article is by Dorit Segal-Engelchin and colleagues from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel entitled, Pregnancy, Childbirth and Postpartum Experiences of Israeli Women in the Negev. Readers might take notice of how skillfully this study was designed, specifically, fully utilizing data from a larger study, that then can become the focus of a more narrow and detailed investigation. These researchers studied 302 Israeli women examining the associations between negative pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum experiences. One of the findings was that traumatic and negative births significantly increased the risk of PPD. They go on to point to the importance of identifying appropriate interventions prior to birth.
Transition to Parenthood Among Drug Abusing Mothers: Stressors, Supports, Coping and Mental Health is the second quantitative study by Belt et al., from Finland's University of Helsinki. These authors investigated the impact of drug abuse on prenatal resources such as, social support and coping strategies, along with the mental health problems of depression, pregnancy distress and hostility, and analyzed whether they would be able to predict postpartum mental health. From the article: "Although preliminary, our findings encourage us to believe that it is possible to reduce transferring the negative burden of the substance abusing mother to the child by helping [her] to cope and to give her social and psychological support during the transition period from pregnancy to postpartum."
The third article submitted here is written by previous contributors to the journal, Paola Di Blasio and Chiara Ionio, along with their colleague, Emanuala Gonfalonieri from the Università Cattolica, Milano, Italy. Their study's title is, Symptoms of Postpartum PTSD and Expressive Writing: A Prospective Study. Their focus this time is grounded in previous research studies on postpartum PTSD that have found the experience of childbirth to be traumatic in and of itself Hypothesizing that psychologically processing postpartum emotions through the use of Pennekaber's expressive writing method, they explored if short- and long-term posttraumatic symptoms could be reduced. In the sample of 242 women the data showed a positive effect.
Important to note is that all three articles inform those who work with women before, during and after pregnancy with the ability to explain some the psychological changes influencing this period and beyond, as prenatal and perinatal psychology theory would predict. Many of our members who are from prenatal care and the birthing communities will find these articles valuable in helping the young women and families they work with.
As mentioned in the previous editorial (summer issue), readers will notice the look of the journal's pages to be a bit different around formatting (i.e., title and name positions, author note, and headings). These changes now reflect our conformity with the newest edition (6th) of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2009).
With deep appreciation to our colleagues across the pond,
Bobbi Jo Lyman, Ph.D. , Editor-in-Chief
Santa Barbara Graduate Institute of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
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