Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health
APPPAH is a US-based 501-(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a global influence that for over 40 years has been promoting the critical importance of an early nurturing environment for babies - beginning in the womb and beyond.
APPPAH’s mission is to provide global education to professionals and families about emerging evidence in prenatal and perinatal sciences that supports optimal pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experiences to prevent birth trauma and promote healing and resilience.
APPPAH’s vision is that:
- Every baby is welcomed, acknowledged, and nurtured to their fullest expression as a conscious and aware being.
- Everyone understands that babies are having their own thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
- All professionals and families understand that babies in the womb and in the world:
- are sensitive, perceptive, cognitive, and conscious;
- are social, communicative, and building relationships;
- have innate needs that are intrinsically linked to the mother and baby bond;
- develop an epigenetic blueprint that is long lasting and may be passed on to future generations.
What is Birth Psychology?
Birth Psychology is a field of scientific research and observation that explores the impact of our earliest experiences – in the womb, during birth and throughout infancy.
- We learn how these early experiences affect our current lives as adults, impacting our physical health, our emotional capacity, our mental beliefs and our social lives.
- We come to recognize our early adaptive patterns and explore various modalities to re-integrate and heal any traumas or disruptions that might be influencing our foundation of health.
- We use what we have learned to support a holistic approach to conception, pregnancy and birth that includes the baby’s experiences as well as those of the parents, family members and the professionals who support them.
What is Unique About APPPAH?
APPPAH’s unique contribution is promoting the understanding that early connections and nurturing can begin in the womb - well before birth.
For most of recorded history, it has been believed that babies were not capable of thinking, feeling, or having their own experiences before birth or even for many months afterward; however, we now know babies do have their own thoughts, feelings, and experiences even before birth. We know that many children and adults have memories of their birth and events that occurred prenatally. This knowledge informs the way we interact with babies and the way we care for pregnant mothers.
We believe that in order to fully prepare for a conscious pregnancy and birth it is beneficial to have the birthing person, her partner and all members of the birth team examine their own birth experiences. These early experiences leave imprints in our somatic implicit memory that influence us throughout our lives.
Why Does It Matter?
We know through science and much experience that babies are capable of feeling, learning, remembering and communicating before, during and after birth. This dramatically changes the ways in which we connect and interact with babies during pregnancy, through the birth process, and throughout infancy.
This knowledge makes pregnancy one of the most important periods in a woman’s life and should elevate prenatal care and support of pregnant mothers to the highest priority of our society. Because the physical and emotional wellbeing of pregnant mothers directly impacts the physical and emotional wellbeing of their babies in the womb, protecting this special period for mothers is one of the most significant ways we can influence the wellbeing of our society.
APPPAH believes that creating a healthy womb helps to create a healthy world. Raising several generations of securely attached children who can grow up with the motivation and the capacity to find peaceful solutions to our world’s problems may be the best (and perhaps only) hope for our world.
Birth is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and pregnancy is a unique opportunity to support the development of a caring and compassionate human being who will help to create a more caring and compassionate society. Having a positive and nurturing womb and birth experience is every baby’s birthright and sets the stage for each baby to reach their highest potential.
How Are We Accomplishing Our Mission?
APPPAH’s community is a group of passionate people from many different disciplines who care deeply about babies and our global society.
In support of this community, APPPAH has developed educational programs, skills trainings and resources to provide the evidence-based science and the knowledge we have gained from decades of experience about how our early prenatal and birth experiences and somatic memories impact our lives as adults.
- Prenatal and Perinatal Education (PPNE) Certificate Program: This unique program creates a transformational experience for birth practitioners to reflect deeply on all aspects of this work. Since 2014, over 450 students from 60 countries have taken APPPAH’s year-long certificate program.
- APPPAH Connect: Practitioner Networking Group A professional networking opportunity is available to members monthly to connect and share experiences. Meet with like-minded birth professionals to share challenges, celebrate successes, and support each other in the vital work we do for babies, mothers, and families.
- Monday LIVE: Exploring Birth Psychology Free weekly online webinars with global experts are offered to everyone who wishes to learn more about the many aspects of birth psychology and health.
- Newsletter: Monthly newsletters keep the APPPAH community connected and apprised of events and news related to our community’s global work.
- Journal for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology (JOPPPAH): APPPAH’s official journal has been published continuously since 1986. All back issues are available to members with an incalculable wealth of science, knowledge, and experience about birth psychology.
- International Congress: Every 2 years since 1981, APPPAH’s International Congress brings people from all over the world to join in learning and networking.
- Affiliate Organizations: APPPAH has developed a network of like-minded affiliate organizations that support each other in sharing practical information about prenatal and perinatal psychology & health in each organization’s local community and country.
- New Classes and Programs: APPPAH’s Education Department is always working on new educational courses to share with all who seek to expand their knowledge and skills in birth psychology.