My new book, Prenatal Development and Parents’ Lived Experiences: How Early Events Shape Our Psychophysiology and Relationships, offers recent knowledge, research and theory about the earliest developmental period—from conception to birth, which holds even greater consequences for the health and development of the human organism than was previously understood. Theory and research in multiple disciplines provide the foundation for the exploration of how experiences during conception and time in the womb; during and after birth; and experiences with caregivers and the family system in the early postnatal period impact an individual physically, cognitively, emotionally and socially over their life span.
Knowledge drawn from numerous fields highlights the opportunity for parents-to-be and the practitioners who care for them to intentionally support the cultivation of nurturing internal and external environments during the preconception, prenatal and early parenting periods. Theory and research from the fields of psychology, medicine, psychophysiology, epigenetics, and traumatology among others, suggest that doing so will support lifelong multidimensional aspects of healthy development in children and adults and may also benefit future generations.
Dr. Weinstein’s 18 page, fully referenced report, Why It’s Important for Women to Learn and Use Stress Reduction Skills Before and During Pregnancy (2013), discusses the impact of stress on women in the preconception and prenatal period. She explores recent research and knowledge that raise concerns about how prenatal maternal stress may impact the development, health and behavior of women’s babies during pregnancy and after birth.
Dr. Weinstein also refers to research that demonstrates the positive health impacts of simple stress reduction skills. Her report suggests that by learning and using simple stress reduction skills before and during pregnancy, women can support their own health, the quality of the environment in which their offspring are developing, and their babies’ growth, health and behavior from the beginning.
Dr. Weinstein’s doctoral dissertation, The Experiences of Women Who Received Reproductive Endocrinology Treatment for Infertility (2010), explores the multidimensional impacts of infertility treatment on the lives of women with and without traumatic stress and/or dissociative symptoms.
Dr. Weinstein contributed six chapters which explore the impact of prenatal and early postnatal experiences over the life span to Michael Shea’s book, Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy: Volume Five (2013). The chapters are entitled:
- Introduction to the Primary Period: Preconception through the First Year of Postnatal Life
- Prenatal Autonomic Nervous System Development
- Impact of Maternal Psychophysiological States on the Development of the Prenate
- Consequences of Maternal Traumatic Stress Experience
- Assisted Reproductive Technologies
- Implications for Practitioners
The chapters synthesize recent research and knowledge from several fields including psychophysiology, medicine, psychology and behavioral perinatology. They provide a deep understanding of the critical importance of our earliest development and experiences and include a discussion of the implications of this knowledge for health and mental health practitioners.
Dr. Weinstein contributed a chapter, Pam’s Themes, a narrative of the infertility treatment experiences of one participant in her research study, to Michael Shea’s book, Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy: Volume Three (2010).
Dr. Weinstein’s article, The Impact of Childhood Sexual Abuse on Pregnancy, Labor and Birth, co-authored by Thomas R. Verny, M.D., D. Psych., appeared in the Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health (2004). This article reviews some of the literature available at the time on how a history of childhood sexual abuse affected women’s experiences during the prenatal period.