After decades of influential work in the childbirth and health research arena, French Obstetrician, Michel Odent, M.D.'s essays will find a home annually in the winter edition of the Journal. This time Dr. Odent begins by defining primal health research as, "exploring the links between the primal period (from conception until the first birthday) and health and behavior later on in life." The first essay is entitled, The Primal Period of Spiritual Héros, and it lifts gems from historical facts about the early primal periods of Buddha, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. In the second essay, The Long Term Consequences of How We Are Born, he focuses on two perspectives: The adaptability of perinates to oxygen deprivation, and the capacity to love that begins around birth, as well as the potential for violent criminality and selfdestructive behaviors. Third, Dr. Odent points to the many resourceful materials found at the Primal Health Research website, located at http://www.birthworks.org/primalhealth/. But in this essay, The Gaps in Primal Health Research, examines some of the deficiencies that exist in this literature as well. The fourth article is entitled, How Effective is the Accordion Method? Evaluating our Preconceptional Programme. It briefly reviews the history and development of the programme to the point of empirically evaluating the effects of developmental toxicity.
An invited paper by Franz Renggli of Basel, Switzerland is offered next. Readers of the journal may recall from the Spring, 2002 edition Dr. Renggli's discussion of the prenatal and perinatal dimensions within Egyptian mythology and culture. Here the fascinating subject of the origin of anxiety is explored. Starting with the Sumerians, Dr. Renggli describes how developing societies separated mothers from their babies and so began the life of anxiety and alienation which can be found as a theme in the oldest recorded stories in the world.
From our Italian colleagues, Paola Di Blasio and Chiara Ionio, a research study is included. It focuses on post-traumatic stress disorders, which arise after childbirth that might trigger postpartum psychological sequela. A topical paper, these authors hypothesized that if new mothers expressed negative emotions, there could be a reduction in the occurrence of stress symptoms after labour and delivery. Their results were supported, and they conclude that the positive effects of emotional self-disclosure are seen within this population.
Next, Robert J. Oliver, M.D., Ph.D., a retired Obstetrician and Gynecologist, updates us on the devastating physiological and psychological effects smoking can have on a fetus from conception through birth. He cites that many women do quit smoking when they discover they are pregnant, but the 40% who don't subject the baby to toxins that will increase the likelihood of spontaneous abortions, prematurity, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and behavioral problems to name a few. This article also includes the personal anecdotes of Dr. Oliver, based on his many years in practice.
In the Sharing Space section of the journal is Kerry Tuschhoff's story of her search for a better and more painless way to birth babies. She begins her journey, armed only with her strong desire, and after many trials, finally finds a satisfying way for women to "give their babies the gift of a gentle, unmedicated start to life." She remains inspired and dedicated to teaching the process through her Hypnobabies Hypnosis for Childbirth Program.
Finally, we would also like to acknowledge David B. Chamberlain, Ph.D. for his creative and supportive approach to "delivering" the new editorial team into the world. The "birth" was done gently and all via the Internet (quite a long umbilical cord)! We will draw on his wisdom often, and continue the mission of publishing cutting edge research and papers, thereby connecting with those who have a passion for prenatal and perinatal psychology. We, the new team, are honored to be serving in this capacity.
Bobbi Jo Lyman, Ph.D.
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.