CITE: Janus, L., Evertz, K., & Linder, R. (Eds.). Handbook of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology: Integrating Research and Practice. Springer. 2017, 2020


The Handbook of Prenatal Psychology, edited by Ludwig Janus, Klaus Evertz, and Rupert Linder, provides a comprehensive overview of the field of prenatal psychology, exploring the ways in which a child’s prenatal experiences shape their psychological development and ultimately their adult lives. The book brings together contributions from leading experts in the field, covering topics such as prenatal development, the role of the placenta, maternal mental health.

Specifically, the handbook synthesizes the comprehensive interdisciplinary research on the psychological and behavioral dimensions of life before, during, and immediately after birth. It examines how experiences during the prenatal period are associated with basic physiological and psychological imprints that last a lifetime and explores the ways in which brain networks reflect these experiences. Chapters offer findings on prenatal development, fetal programming, fetal stress, and epigenetics. In addition, chapters discuss psychotherapy for infants – before, during, and after birth – as well as prevention to promote positive health and well-being outcomes.

The Handbook of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology is an essential resource for researchers, clinicians and related professionals, as well as graduate students in a wide range of interrelated disciplines, including developmental psychology, pediatric and obstetrical medicine, neuroscience, infancy and early child development, obstetrics and gynecology, nursing, social work, and early childhood education.


  • The book examines psychological and behavioral dimensions of life before, during, and immediately after birth, including the effects of birth trauma, prenatal stress, and the quality of mother-infant attachment.
  • It describes how experiences during the prenatal period affect basic physiological and psychological imprints across the lifespan and affect human behavior and mental health.
  • It discusses epigenetics and developmental psychology.
  • It explores stress and brain development as well as neonatology and prenatal bonding
  • It presents contemporary environmental stressors and adverse pregnancy outcomes. 
  • It examines the psychology of newborn intensive care.
  • It speaks about Art therapy and its use in treating prenatal trauma.
  • It discusses the failures and successes of Cathartic Regression Therapy.
  • It emphasizes the value of prenatal bonding and its positive effects on postnatal health and well-being.
  • It explores the role of family midwives and early prevention.
  • It expands on the cultural meaning of prenatal psychology.
  • It examines the effects of encouraging positive maternal attitudes
  • It discusses the importance of the father’s role during pregnancy and childbirth, and the benefits of involving fathers in the prenatal and perinatal period.
  • It offers a look at the therapeutic possibilities of working with prenatal and perinatal experiences, including techniques such as hypnotherapy, guided imagery, and regression therapy.


  • “The prenatal period is a time of remarkable change and development. It is a time when the foundation for all future physical, emotional, and cognitive growth is laid” (p. 1).
  • “Prenatal and perinatal psychology is a natural science that deals with the psychological development of the human being from conception through the early postnatal period” (p. 3).
  • “The prenatal and perinatal period is the most critical period of human development, with the greatest potential for enhancement or disruption of psychological functioning” (p. 7).
  • “From the point of view of prenatal psychology, the human being begins to exist as a subject of experience already in the prenatal period.” (p. 13)
  • “The prenatal period is not a time of passive waiting, but a period of active involvement, of sensing, feeling, and experiencing.” (p. 37)
  • “Prenatal life does not mean a life in a confined space, but rather a life in an all-encompassing world, a world that is not experienced as limited, but is rather a continuous flow of impressions, of movement, of communication.” (p. 63)
  • “The prenatal psyche is capable of an almost limitless adaptation to the constantly changing conditions of the intrauterine environment.” (p. 91)
  • “The newborn is highly sensitive to the quality of maternal care, and the quality of maternal care depends on the mother’s own psychological state, which is largely determined by her own prenatal and perinatal experiences” (p. 97).
  • “Maternal stress during pregnancy is a common experience and has been linked to a range of negative outcomes for the child, including preterm birth, low birth weight, and impaired cognitive and emotional development” (p. 97).
  • “Prenatal bonding is a complex and multifaceted process that involves the mother, the father, and the developing fetus. It is influenced by a range of factors, including the parents’ own experiences and expectations, the quality of the relationship between the parents, and the social and cultural context in which the pregnancy occurs” (p. 165).
  • “The prenatal period can be seen as a critical period for the development of the basic attitudes and orientations that will shape a person’s personality and worldview for the rest of their life.” (p. 169).
  • “The experience of birth can have a profound impact on the psychological development of the newborn, shaping his or her perceptions of self, others, and the world” (p. 172).
  • “Prenatal and perinatal experiences are not simply memories of events that happened in the past; they are active forces that continue to shape our thoughts, feelings, and behavior in the present” (p. 351).
error: Content is protected !!