The Significance of Pregnancy and Birth for Cultural Evolution by Ludwig Janus

Price: $10.00
Publication Date: 
Sep 2015

One of the important differences between Homo sapiens and the other primates is the condition of pregnancy and birth. Because of the upright walk and the larger brain size of Homo sapiens, the birth channel became too narrow to accommodate birth after a long pregnancy. The evolutionary solution was the shortening of human pregnancy from about 21 months to only nine months. The consequence of this was the so-called “physiological prematurity” of human newborns.


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The far-reaching psychological implications of la condition humaine will be outlined in this contribution. Because of this “physiological prematurity,” human babies live simultaneously in the real, outside world, but also still experience the fetal emotional state as a dreamy “other world.” 

The Effects of Prenatal Yoga on Birth Outcomes: A Systematic Review of the Literature

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Importance There are limited data to demonstrate the potential impact of prenatal yoga on birth outcomes such as maternal comfort, labor duration, and infant gestational age and weight.
Objective To examine the published evidence on prenatal yoga, identify the gaps in this field of study, and to explore avenues for further research.



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Beddoe, A. E., Yang, C. P., Kennedy, H. P., Weiss, S. J., & Lee, K. A. (2009). The effects of mindfulness-based yoga during pregnancy on maternal psychological and physical distress. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecological, & Neonatal Nursing, 38, 310-319.
Bijlani, R. L., Vempati, R. P., Yadav, R. K., Ray, R. B., Gupta, V., Sharma, R., . . . Mahapatra, S. C. (2005). A brief but comprehensive lifestyle education program based on yoga reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus. Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 11, 267-274.
Chung, S. C., Brooks, M. M., Rai, M., Balk, J. L., & Rai, S. (2012). Effects of sahaja yoga meditation on quality of life, anxiety, and blood pressure control. Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 18(6), 589-596.
Chuntharapat, S., Petpichetchian, W., & Hatthakit, U. (2008). Yoga during pregnancy: Effects on maternal comfort, labor pain, and birth outcomes. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 14, 105-115.
Collins, C. (1998). Yoga: Intuition, preventative medicine, and treatment. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecological, & Neonatal Nursing, 27, 563-568.
Curtis, K., Weinrib, A., & Katz, J. (2012). Systematic review of yoga for pregnant women: Current status and future directions. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012 doi:10.1155/2012/715942
Doran, F., & Hornibrook, J. (2013). Women's experiences of participation in a pregnancy and postnatal group incorporating yoga and facilitated group discussion: A qualitative evaluation. Women and Birth, 26, 82-86.
Field, T., Diego, M., Hernandez-Reif, M., Medina, L., Delgado, J., & Hernandez, A. (2012). Yoga and massage therapy reduce prenatal depression and prematurity. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 16, 204-209.
Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., Diego, M., Figueiredo, B., Schanberg, S., & Kuhn, C. (2006). Prenatal cortisol, prematurity, and low birth weight. Infant Behavior and Development, 29, 268-275.
Guarracino, J. L., Savino, S., & Edelstein, S. (2006). Yoga participation is beneficial to obesity prevention, hypertension control, and positive quality of life. Topics in Clinical Nutrition, 21(2), 108-113.
Javnbakht, M., Kenari, R. H., & Ghasemi, M. (2009). Effects of yoga on depression and anxiety of women. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 15, 102-104.
Kochanek, K. D., Kirmeyer, S. E., Martin, J. A., Strobino, D. M., & Guyer, B. (2012). Annual summary of vital statistics: 2009. Pediatrics, 129, 338-348.
Kristal, A. R., Littman, A. J., Benitez, D., & White, E. (2005). Yoga practice is associated with attenuated weight gain in healthy, middle-aged men and women. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 11(4), 28-33.
Kurki, T., Hiilesmaa, V., Raitasalo, R., Mattila, H., & Ylikorkala, O. (2000). Depression and anxiety in early pregnancy and risk for preeclampsia. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 95(4), 487-490.
Lee, K. A., & Gay, C. L. (2004). Sleep in late pregnancy predicts length of labor and type of delivery. American Journal of Obstetric and Gynecology, 191, 2041-2046.
Mancuso, R. A., Schetter, C. D., Rini, C. M., Roesch, S. C., & Hobel, C. J. (2004). Maternal prenatal anxiety and corticotropin-releasing hormone associated with timing of delivery. Psychosomatic Medicine, 66, 762-769.
Mulder, E. J. H., Robles de Medina, P. G., Huizink, A. C., Van den Bergh, B. R. H., Buitelaar, J. K., & Visser, G. H. A. (2002). Prenatal maternal stress: Effects on pregnancy and the (unborn) child. Early Human Development, 70, 3-14.
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Narendran, S., Nagarathna, R., Narendran, V., Gunasheela, S., & Nagendra, H. R. R. (2005). Efficacy of yoga on pregnancy outcome. Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 11(2), 237-244.
Rakhshani, A., Maharana, S., Raghuram, N., Nagendra, H. R., & Venkatram, P. (2010). Effects of integrated yoga on quality of life and interpersonal relationship of pregnant women. Quality of Life Research, 19, 1447-1445.
Rakhshani, A., Nagarathna, R., Mhaskar, R., Mhaskar, A., Thomas, A., Gunasheela, S. (2012).
The effects of yoga in prevention of pregnancy complications in high-risk pregnancies: A randomized controlled trial. Preventative Medicine. 55(4), 333-340.
Satyapriya, M., Nagendra, H. R., Nagarathna, R., & Padmalatha, V. (2009). Effect of integrated yoga on stress and heart rate variability in pregnant women. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 104, 218-222.
Saunders, T. A., Lobel, M., Veloso, C., & Meyer, B. A. (2006). Prenatal maternal stress is associated with delivery analgesia and unplanned cesareans. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, 27(3), 141-146.
Smith, C., Hancock, H., Blake-Mortimer, J., & Eckert, K. (2007). A randomised comparative trial of yoga and relaxation to reduce stress and anxiety. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 15, 77-83.
Smith, J. A., Greer, T., Sheets, T., & Watson, S. (2011). Is there more to yoga than exercise? Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 17(3), 22-29.
Sun, Y., Hung, Y., Chang, Y., & Kuo, S. (2010). Effects of a prenatal yoga programme on the discomforts of pregnancy and maternal childbirth self-efficacy in Taiwan. Midwifery, 26, 31-36.
Vempati, R. P., & Telles, S. (2002). Yoga-based guided relaxation reduces sympathetic activity judged from baseline levels. Psychological Reports, 90, 487-494.
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Weinstock, M. (2005). The potential influence of maternal stress hormones on development and mental health of the offspring. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 19, 296-308.
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Prenatal Exposure to Synthetic Oxytocin: Risk to Neurodevelopment?

Price: $10.00
Publication Date: 
Oct 2012

The neurodevelopmental risks of prenatal exposure to synthetic Oxytocin (OXT) during childbirth are relatively unexplored; however, it seems plausible that lifelong consequences could occur. This article expounds upon a pilot study (Kurth & Haussmann, 2011) that posited an association between prenatal OXT exposure and childhood onset of ADHD, suggesting neurodevelopmental disorders may be a consequence of this exposure. Study results, conclusions, and speculative impressions are discussed1.

Thinking the Unthought

Price: $10.00
Publication Date: 
Jul 2012

Some psychoanalytic researches are reviewed here to give an overview of how ideas on prenatal life and psychoanalytic ideas on ego-formation got tentatively together during the last century and the first years of the new century. There is a large bow to Ferenczi who published his long paper Thalassa in 1924 after about ten years of thoughts on it that were shared by Maiello, Hidas and Raffai, and Wilheim. Certainly this bow is incomplete. However, we can see how prenatal life becomes more relevant in psychoanalytic research, too.


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Pregnancy as a Feminine Initiation

Price: $10.00
Publication Date: 
Jul 2012
Pregnancy as a feminine initiation becomes conscious to a woman when she engages with her pregnant imagination through dreams, art, emotions, and somatic changes. If the woman acknowledges her emotional and psychological reactions arising from core archetypal patterns, a “conscious pregnancy” occurs. Three stages of the initiation are outlined: Gateway, Attending, and Passage. Focusing on the Attending stage, three key psychological components are explored: shadow, syzygy, and simultaneity. Viewing the prenatal psyche through C.G.

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The Pre & Perinatal Origins of Childhood and Adult Diseases and Personality Disorders

Price: $10.00
Publication Date: 
Mar 2012

This paper will explore the effects on the unborn and newborn child of psychological stress, depression, and other relevant maternal factors in the pre and perinatal period. Particular attention will be paid to the effects of stress on the organization and function of the fetal brain, on neurohormones, the immune system, personality evolution, as well as on the development of many childhood and adult diseases.


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Bohnert, K M. & Breslau, N. (2008). Stability of psychiatric outcomes of low birth weight. Archives of General Psychiatry, 65(9):1080-1086.

Brennan, PA., Grekin, E.R., Mortensen, E.L., & Mednick, SA. (2002). Relationship of maternal smoking during pregnancy with criminal arrest and hospitalization for substance abuse in male and female adult offspring. American Journal of Psychiatry, 159(1), 48-54.

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Is Maternal Personality and Coping Style Related to Breech Presentation? Evaluating the Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Models of Risk Factors for Breech Presentation

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Publication Date: 
May 2011

We investigated maternal personality characteristics and coping style as potential risk factors for breech presentation in this case-control study. Mothers of cephalic presentation babies (n=72) and mothers of breech presentation babies (n=42) participated in a socio-demographic survey, the State Trait Personality Inventory (STPI), and an in-depth interview. In-depth interview results suggested mothers of breech presentation were more likely to be idealistic, analytical, overextended, and fearful; also less likely to be flexible.


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Overcoming Somatic and Psychological Difficulties: New Experiences from an Integrated Linkage of Obstetrics and Psychotherapy

Price: $10.00
Publication Date: 
May 2010

In recent years it has been shown that an integrated linkage of gynecology, obstetrics, and psychotherapy resulted in an astoundingly low rate of premature births among the pregnant women cared for. Many physical problems in pregnancy should be regarded within the entirety of physical and emotional processes.


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Mary the Dawn: Ancient European Symbols of Fertility and Pregnancy for Pedagogical Purposes

Price: $10.00
Publication Date: 
Dec 2009
In this paper, I will trace Ancient European Symbols of Pregnancy and Fertility from pre-history to early Christian times. Whether ancient female images represented goddesses or not, is not under discussion here. I will explore the possibility that symbols of pregnancy and fertility take on a purpose beyond self-expression, art, or worship and suggest the plausibility of pedagogical purposes in a pre-literate world. By including symbols, I also hope to show how some the roots of our modern alphabet go back to pre-history, and speak of the sacred sciences of birth.

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Pregnancy, Childbirth and Postpartum Experiences of Israeli Women in the Negev

Price: $10.00
Publication Date: 
Oct 2009
This study of 302 Israeli women was a secondary analysis conducted to: (1) examine the associations between negative pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum experiences; (2) determine whether exposure to childhood sexual abuse, domestic violence and fertility problems are related to reproductive experiences and (3) identify among these variables potential predictors of negative childbirth experiences and postpartum depression (PPD). Pregnancy-related fears increased and prior fertility problems decreased the likelihood of negative childbirth experiences.

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Cwikel, J., & Barak, N. (2002). The health and welfare of Bedouin Arab women in the Negev. Beer-Sheva: The Center of Women's Heath Studies and Promotion, BenGurion University of the Negev.

Cwikel, J., & Barak, N. (2003). The health and welfare of Israeli women in the Negev. Beer-Sheva, Israel: The Center of Women's Heath Studies and Promotion, BenGurion University of the Negev.

Cwikel, J., Lev- Weisel, R., & Al-Krenawi, A. (2003). The physical and psychosocial health of Bedouin Arab women in the Negev area of Israel. Violence Against Women, 9(2), 240-257.

Cwikel, J., & Mendlinger, S. (2003). Origins and influences of women's health behaviors: Examining intergenerational and multi-cultural effects. Final report to the Israeli Ministry of Science, Culture and Sport. Beer-Sheva, Israel: The Center of Women's Heath Studies and Promotion, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

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Dole, N., Savitz, D. A., Hertz-Picciotto, L, Siega-Riz, A. M., McMahon, M. J., & Buekens, P. (2003). Maternal stress and prêterai birth. American Journal of Epidemiology, 757(1), 14-24.

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Eilat-Ts anani, S., A. Merom, Romano, S., Reshef, ?., Lavi, L, & Tabenkin, H. (2006). The effect of postpartum depression on women's consultations with physicians. The Israel Medicine Association Journal, 8(6), 406-10.

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Gupton, A., Heaman, M., & Wang-Kit Cheung, L. (2001). Complicated and uncomplicated pregnancies: Women's perception of risk. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing, 30(2), 192-201.

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Hauck, Y., Fenwick, J., Downie, J., & Butt, J. (2007). The influence of childbirth expectations on Western Australian women's perceptions of their birth experience. Midwifery, 23(3), 235-247.

Heaman, M., Gupton, A., & Gregory, D. (2004). Factors influencing pregnant women's perceptions of risk. The American Journal of Maternal /Child Nursing, 29(20), 111-116.

Hedegaard, M., Henriksen, T. B., Secher, N. J., Hatch, M. C., & Sabroe, S. (1996). Do stressful Ufe events affect duration of gestation and risk of prêterai delivery? Epidemiology, 7(4), 339-345.

Heimstad, R., Dahloe, R., Laache, L, Skogvoll, E., & Schei, B. (2006). Fear of childbirth and history of abuse: implications for pregnancy and delivery. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 85(4), 435-440.

Heron, J., O'Connor, T., Evans, J., Golding, J., Glover, V. and the ALSPAC Study Team. (2004). The course of anxiety and depression through pregnancy and the postpartum in a community sample. Journal of Affective Disorders, SO(I), 65-73.

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Janssen, P. ?., Holt, V. L., Sugg, N. K, Emanuel, L, Critchlow, C. M., & Henderson, A. D. (2003). Intimate partner violence and adverse pregnancy outcomes: A populationbased study. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 188(5), 1341-1347.

Jasinski, J. L. (2004). Pregnancy and domestic violence: A review of the literature. Trauma,Violence, & Abuse, 5(1), 47-64.

Jossefsson, A., Anglesioo, L, Berg, G., Ekstrom, C.M., Gunnervikl, C., Nordin, C., & Sydsjo, G. (2002). Obstetric, somatic and demographic risk factors for postpartum. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 99(2), 223-228.

Koo, V., Lynch, J., & Cooper, S. (2003). Risk of postnatal depression after emergency delivery. Journal of Obstetrical and Gynecological Research, 29(4), 246-250.

Krueger, A. B., & Stone, A. A. (2008). Assessment of pain: a community-based diary survey in the USA. Lancet, 377(9623), 1519-1525.

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Lyons, S. (1998). A prospective study of post traumatic stress symptoms one month following birth in a group of 42 first-time mothers. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 16(2), 91-105.

Manakota, D., Braverman, N., Sudari, I., Grosman, A., Brazis, M., Laufer, N., et al., (2008). Survey of obstetric healtkcare services in Israel. Jerusalem: Israel: Ministry of Health. (Hebrew)Maslovitz, S., Kupfermine, M. J., Lessing, J. B., & Many, A. (2005). Perinatal outcome among non-residents in Israel. The Israel Medicine Association Journal, 7(5), 315-319.

Matthey, S., Henshaw, C., Elliot, S., & Baraett, B. (2006). Variability in use of cut-off scores and formats on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale- implication for clinical and research practice. Archives of Women's Mental Health, 9(6), 300- 315.

Maughan, B. (2002). Depression and psychological distress: A life course perspective. In D. Kuh & R Hardy (Eds.), A life course approach to women's health (pp. 161- 171). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Melender, H-L. (2002). Experiences of fears associated with pregnancy and childbirth: A study of 329 pregnant women. Birth, 29(2), 101-111.

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Mulder, E. J. H., Robles de Medina, P. G., Huizink, A. C., Van den Bergh, B. R. H., Buitelaar, J. K., Visser, G. H. A. (2002). Prenatal maternal stress: effects on pregnancy and the (unborn) child. Early Human Development, 70(1), 3-14.

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Nielsen Rorman, D., Videbech, P., Hedegaard, M., Dalby Salvig, J., & Secher, N. J. (2000). Postpartum depression; Identification of women at risk. British Journal of Obsterics and Gynaecology, 107(10), 1210-1217.

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