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APPPAH Offers Free Articles


The American Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health  is offering free articles on their website.

You can read articles relating life before birth, prenatal music and sound, the birth experience, birth and violence, prenatal parenting and primal health and womb ecology.

They are offering Michel Odent’s  Primal Health Essays: he writes on the primal origins of health and disease that are of unique importance in the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology and health, and give substance to an urgent new branch of studies affecting all future families. According to APPPAH’s website, Dr. Odent’s essays on the primal orgins of health and disease are of unique importance in the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology and health, and give substance to an urgent new branch of studies affecting all future families. These articles are reprinted with permission of Michel Odent, Director, Primal Health Research Centre in London and the newsletter he writes, Primal Health Research, published in North and South America by Birth Works, Inc., Medford, NJ.

Michel’s start:

Even in the age of the Internet, a dinner table is more suitable than a transatlantic exchange of emails for initiating fruitful projects. During my last trip to the East Coast I met Cathy Daub and Debra Mendelson, from Birth Works®. It appeared (at dinner time) that by merging our websites we could offer free access to the Primal Health Research Data bank. Thanks to the expertise of Paul, Debra’s husband, it took only some days to introduce a real data bank on the web. It is already usable. (Free access to the Primal Health Research Data Bank is provided at: www.birthworks.org/primalhealth.) It will be improved in the near future. This bank will be first a tool for researchers interested in the health of the unborn generations. It will contribute to induce a new awareness of the long-term consequences of early experiences. Today it is easy to have an overview of all the (apparently) unrelated references and abstracts we brought together. This overview can convince anyone that our health is to a great extent shaped in the womb. Of course the impressive proportion of studies detecting correlations between fetal life and health later in life must be interpreted. There are simple and practical explanations. For example we must take into account the fact that it is easy (and politically correct) to introduce in a computer such indicators of fetal growth as birth weight. But we must go beyond such explanations: the point is that the studies we detected in the scientific and medical literature originate from countless disciplines: cancerology, neurology, cardiology, dentistry, reproductive medicine, endocrinology, gerontology, ophthalmology, psychiatry, etc. This means that today, when we refer to the environmental factors that determine the health and behaviour of human beings (versus the genetic factors), we must focus on the intrauterine environment. The time has come for a radically new vision of human development. The main implications of this new generation of research is that fetal growth and fetal development must become major public health preoccupations. In the current scientific context some of the factors that influence the quality of prenatal life are better understood. This is the case of the emotional factors. Pregnant women always had the intuitive knowledge that the development of their baby in the womb was influenced by their emotional state. Today physiologists can interpret this influence. For example when a pregnant woman is not happy because she feels dominated by somebody (e.g. an authoritarian boss) or by a situation (e.g. unwanted pregnancy) she has a tendency to release high levels of hormones such as cortisol. Yet cortisol is an inhibitor of fetal growth. The more aware we are of the importance of the emotional states of pregnant women, the more we will take into consideration the possible “nocebo effect” of antenatal care. It seems that many health professionals involved in antenatal care have not realized that one of their role should be to protect the emotional state of pregnant women. In the issues of autumn 1994 (vol. 2, no. 2) and spring 1995 (vol. 2, no. 4) I had already introduced the concept of nocebo effect of antenatal care. Five years later I find it urgent to reintroduce the topic.

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