In previous editions of the journal we have been delighted to publish an expanding number of quantitative studies that have explored several facets of the prenatal and perinatal period. Qualitative studies are just as crucial to a developing discipline methodologically. This is because the detailed descriptions of experience that participants offer enables us to quantify future studies more accurately. Our lead article is just such a qualitative study.
In the lead article, Being Pregnant: A Qualitative Study of Women's Lived Experience of Pregnancy, authors Toni M. Armstrong and Julie Ann Pooley, of Edith Cowan University, Western Australia, examine women's perspectives of their experience of pregnancy looking for pearls of wisdom from their narratives. Six major themes were identified and one of the conclusions offered was around ways of enhancing the pregnancy experience, especially in the area of social support. Future research suggestions were offered as well, namely for healthcare workers who could benefit from learning more about the ways in which pregnant women can connect with each other in supportive ways. Again, this kind of qualitative approach greatly contributes to our knowledge in general and is so valuable as a preventative health strategy as shown in this study particularly.
Another area that needs attention in our field is that of creating and validating behavioral instruments. Authors Julie Jomeen Department of Health Studies, University of Leeds, United Kingdom and Colin R. Martin, Faculty of Medicine, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, SAR, China have accomplished this by establishing the psychometric properties of the Cambridge Worry Scale (CWS) in early pregnancy to determine the potential clinical usefulness for prenatal and perinatal professionals within the sub-scales that comprise this measure. The examination of the CWS was investigated with the help of 129 women during early pregnancy. A factor analysis revealed empirical support for the socio-medical, health, socio-economic and relationships sub-scale domains. The CWS sub-scales were observed to assess dimensions distinct to those of anxiety and depression. In summary, the CWS sub-scales are valid and reliable measures of distinct domains of pregnancy-related worry. Their article is entitled, The Factor Structure of the Cambridge Worry Scale in Early Pregnancy.
A prolific writer, Michel Odent once again contributes an article that reflects his invaluable medical perspective of events that occur during the prenatal and perinatal periods. His article in this edition examines the genesis of sexual preference. Since human beings as a species are unique in that they have a sexual orientation toward their own gender (homosexuality) as well as the opposite sex (heterosexuality), how or where this preference begins is of interest. Dr. Odent's paper cites the relevant medical literature and focuses on how and why some fetuses lack male hormones at the end of pregnancy, which along with stress responses may trigger a high level of activity in the mother's adrenal glands impacting the developing child's later sexual orientation. Options for future research are also discussed.
The next article is one written by this editor, motivated to do so after years of experiencing a gap in the prenatal and perinatal (PPN) literature of an integrated PPN-specific model of psychotherapy with adults. What has been one of the most contributory factors throughout the history of our discipline is the small number of dedicated individual practitioners who have developed their own modalities. However, few of these models integrate the building literature and none have been studied empirically. As I am also the Program Chair of a graduate school guiding students toward becoming PPN practitioners, this situation is problematic. My paper attempts to begin a discipline-wide conversation about what a PPN psychotherapeutic assessment and treatment plan might contain by offering a model that draws on the PPN literature. Also included in this model will be the more recent developments from a number of related disciplines that are currently impacting the clinical aspects of PPN therapy today, namely, the relational aspects of therapy from the neurobiology and attachment literatures, and a renewed emphasis on the importance of the body (somatic cues to early experience). I would gratefully encourage comment and critique, as this kind of dialogue can only strengthen the model.
The fifth scholarly article in this edition of the journal is one submitted by Kathryn Landon-Malone, a pediatric nurse practitioner and doctoral student at Santa Barbara Graduate Institute. Her courage will be obvious to the reader as she describes how she and other dedicated nurses within a small community hospital in Maine have developed a neonatal resuscitation model that honors the consciousness and exquisite capabilities of neonates. Her article also describes that the staff obstetricians notice and appreciate the difference in labor and delivery room with this team, dedicated to minimizing the risk of lasting psychological impact in an infant struggling to survive. Her article (A Holistic Approach to Neonatal Resuscitation) clearly illuminates this positive and preventative approach.
Finally, it is with great pleasure that I include the review of three very fine books in this edition of the journal. The first, The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter, & Miracles by Bruce Lipton. (2005). The second, The Body Bears the Burden: Trauma, Dissociation and Disease by Robert C. Scaer, MD. (2001). The third, Marked in Your Flesh: Circumcision from Ancient Judea to Modern America. (2004).
Bobbi JoLyman PhD
Santa Barbara Graduate Institute
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.