Lisa Kurth and Deana Davalos bring us research focusing on perinatal exposure to synthetic oxytocin, raising the important question of potential impacts on neurological development. This frontier has been broached by Michel Odent and Gerhard Schroth previously in the pages of this journal. The research by Drs. Kurth and Davalos is just the kind of focused attention on this issue that will move it out of questions and into action that produces change. Dr. Lisa Kurth will be joining us in San Francisco with an update on this important work.
The Human Rights in Childbirth Conference at The Hague this past spring created quite a stir internationally. We are very pleased to have obtained permission to share with you the paper presented by Michel Odent at that conference. In this landmark paper, Dr. Odent shines a light on, among other important issues, the interference in the process of microbial colonization of the newborn’s body through separation of the mother and baby, the exposure of fetuses to antibiotics in the perinatal period, and the impact on the numbers of children being born via cesarean surgery rather than the vaginal route. In Dr. Odent’s words, “Recent studies in several fields of medicine have demonstrated the long-term consequences of the way the gut flora is established in the perinatal period, in relation to the mode and place of delivery.”
In the special section featuring graduate-student papers, we bring you the frontier of new explorers and writers in the field of pre and perinatal psychology. These four outstanding papers emerged from a Foundations in PPN course. The students are in a Somatic Psychology program and some had had no previous exposure to PPN theory. Their excitement and engagement with the material shines through in these papers.
From Heather Corwin we have a focus on the connection between secure attachment and the ability to learn, proposing that “Applying secure attachment theory in classrooms may encourage students to succeed.” As an educator, she perceived the potential for, and value of, applying attachment theory to classroom interactions between a teacher and her students.
Nancy Eichhorn explored, through a brief literature review, the question of whether an acceptance of fetal sentience impacts the maternal-fetal attachment relationship. Her clear definition of terms lays a substantial foundation for the literature review that follows and paves the way for her closing paragraph touching on the implications for maternal-fetal attachment interventions.
Michael Lövkvist, in discussing parent-prenate counseling, widens the attachment discussion to include both parents. He manages in this brief paper to discuss parent-prenate attachment, briefly introduce somatic psychotherapy, and discuss some of the ways that somatic interventions have been integrated into pre- and perinatal counseling.
Using a slightly different lens, Eryn Michaud refers to the mother-infant relationship as “empathic attunement” and takes a look at how empathic attunement is, or might be, impacted by contemplative practices. Although Eryn’s focus is on the mother-infant relationship, the principles discussed could easily be applied to the mother-prenate relationship.
These very articulate students, fueled by curiosity and a desire to put their learning to work in the world are addressing new frontiers, for themselves and for the parents and babies whose lives they will touch. We hope to see them here again as their work and vision expands into yet other new frontiers.
And, we hope to see all of you in San Francisco, November 15-18. If you haven’t already registered, go to www.birthpsychology.com and confirm your commitment to exploring New Frontiers in Birth Psychology with your friends and colleagues from around the world.
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