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Twenty years of clinical and behavioral observation indicate that cesarean births cause considerable trauma to babies. The physical and psychological effects are subtle and powerful, occurring at the unconscious level of the infant psyche. Negative impact includes excessive crying, feeding difficulties, sleeping difficulties, colic, and tactile defensiveness. There also may be long-term psychological effects such as rescue complexes, inferiority complexes, poor self-esteem, and other dysfunctional behaviors and feelings. This article describes Emerson's treatment methods for a baby girl who will be referred to by one of her initials, M. She was treated during infancy and childhood and is among 155 infants treated for birth trauma and systematically followed-up on through childhood. The immediate and long-range results of M's treatments are also described.


Emerson, W. (1993). Treating birth trauma during infancy: Dynamic outcomes. CA: Emerson Training Seminars.

Emerson, W. (1996). Treating birth trauma during infancy: Cord trauma. [Video-tape]. CA: Emerson Training Seminars

English, J. (1985). Different doorway. Adventures of a cesarean born. CA: Earth Heart Press.

Grof, S. (1998). Realms of the human unconscious. New York: Viking Press.

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.

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