Health Implications to Consider with Placenta for Consumption

By Sarah Hollister, RN, PHN, IBCLC

--New trend, not ancient wisdom: postpartum placenta consumption first briefly explored in 1970s, and then became a mega-trend starting in 2005 from encapsulation method and social media. Now becoming integrated into midwifery and doula services, becoming more mainstream, and many moms now see it as a status symbol. Financial markets developing raises conflict of interest issues (1,2,3,5,16)

--No human culture in history has ever documented having postpartum women consume their placenta. Traditional Chinese Medicine never had in the traditional text for postpartum women to consume placenta; it was in opposition to the properties for postpartum, TCM only rarely used, primarily as a Qi tonic for males. Ancient wisdom is ceremonial burial (1,2,3,4)

--"Benefits" purported and being spread about therapeutic uses and need for this as a necessary 'balancing of hormones' and nutrients for postpartum women sourced from the 2006 Placenta Benefits (PBi) business marketing, with no valid evidence to support (1,2,5,16,18)

--2016 study showing no iron benefit for moms in consuming encapsulated placenta (6)

--2016 Research study showing what hormones remain in placenta pills - only progesterone and estrogens are retained and active after steaming and processing for encapsulation (7)

--Hormonal re-intake of progesterone and estrogen in the postpartum period is altering the natural hormonal state of women after birth (7,8,11,12,13,14)

--“Baby Blues” 3 days after birth is not postpartum depression, it is the hormonal cycling into lactation hormones, and should not be ‘prevented.’ Pregnancy hormones are not meant to remain after birth. Ancient wisdom is to trust a woman’s body, not to fear it. Postpartum depression is not an automatic result of pregnancy ending (8,10,11,12,14)

--Pregnancy through postpartum/lactation hormonal cycle: progesterone and estrogen are necessary in pregnancy, but are inhibitors of prolactin. These pregnancy hormones leaving your body at birth is what triggers your milk to come in = lactogenesis II. Taking placenta back in after birth inhibits prolactin from binding and producing milk. Some women’s milk supply may be able to withstand this hormonal suppression, but many don’t. This is like having retained placenta or taking hormonal birth control pills, which can lower milk supply (8,9,12,13,14,15)

--Many local and national case studies show low milk supply with placenta consumption. Lactation consultants, all with no conflict of interest, reporting this

--The dramatic mood and energy surge women report is plausible due to effects from high steroid hormone levels in the pills. Is this dramatic effect a natural state for postpartum?(5,7,11)

--Increased thromboembolism risk (blood clots,stroke) with continued estrogen intake(7,9,15,16)

--Infants and toddlers are also advised to be given the placenta powder and tincture as natural medicine. What are the implications for children ingesting progesterone and estrogens? (7,16)

--2017 CDC Released Case Report on infant re-hospitalized in the NICU for GBS bacterial infection from the same strain of GBS in placenta capsules mom was taking (17,18)

References for research

  1. Coyle, C., Hulse K., Wisner, K., Driscoll K., Clark, C. Placentophagy: Therapeutic Miracle or Myth? Arch Womens Ment Health. 2015 October ; 18(5): 673–680

  2. Cole, M. 2014. Clinical Lactation, Placenta Medicine as a Galactagogue, Tradition or Trend? 5(4).

  3. Young, S. M., & Benyshek, D.C. (2010). In search of human placentophagy: A cross-cultural survey of human placenta consumption, disposal practices, and cultural beliefs. Ecology of Food and Nutrition, 49(6), 467-484

  4. Wilms, Sabine."Placentophagy and Chinese Medicine." Happy Goat Productions. May 2016. Accessed August 2017. /2016/5/11/placentophagy-and-chinese-medicine

  5. Placenta Benefits information (PBi).

  6. Gryder, L., Young, S., Zava, D.,Norris, W, Cross, C., Benyshek, D. Effects of Human Maternal Placentophagy on Maternal Postpartum Iron Status: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study. Journal of Midwifery &Women’s Health Volume 62, No. 1, January/February 2017

  7. Young, S., Grydera, L., Zavac, D., Kimballc, D., Benyshek, D. (2016) Presence and concentration of 17 hormones in human placenta processed for encapsulation and consumption. u man_placenta_processed_for_encapsulation_and_consumption

  8. Davis, E. 2012. Heart and Hands: A Midwife’s Guide to Pregnancy and Birth (5th edition) Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press. (pp 199-219)

  9. Sinclair, C. 2004. A Midwife’s Handbook. St.Luis, MO: Saunders. (pp 506-507)

  10. Kendall-Tackett. How Other Cultures Prevent Postpartum Depression Social Structures that Protect New Mothers’ Mental Health.

  11. Skalkidou, Hellgren, Comasco, Sylv n & Sundstr m Poromaa. Biological aspects of postpartum depression. Women's Health (2012) 8(6), 659–672

  12. Neville MC, Morton J, Umemura S. Lactogenesis. The transition from pregnancy to lactation. Pediatric Clin North Am. 2001;48:35-52

  13. Walker, M. (2017). Breastfeeding management for the clinician: Using the evidence (4th edition) Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett. (pp 118 - 127)

  14. Riordin, J.(2005).Breastfeeding and Human Lactation.(3rd edition)Sudbury,MA:Jones and Bartlett(pp 73-77)

  15. ABM Clinical Protocol #13: Contraception During Breastfeeding, Revised 2015. http:/www.bfmed.orgMediaFilesProtocolsContraception%20During%20Breastfeeding.pdf

  16. Hayes, E. H. Consumption of the Placenta in the Postpartum Period. JOGNN, 45, 78–89; 2016.

  17. Buser GL, Mató S, Zhang AY, Metcalf BJ, Beall B, Thomas AR. Notes from the Field: Late-Onset Infant Group B Streptococcus Infection Associated with Maternal Consumption of Capsules Containing Dehydrated Placenta — Oregon, 2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;66:677–678.

  18. Farr, Alex et al. (2017) Human placentophagy: a review. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology

Book Review: Birth and Attachment

by Susan Pulvermacher, RMT RCST

I have been giving a complimentary copy of Myrna Martin’s booklet ‘Birth And Attachment’ to my clients who have babies ever since I first discovered it.  

The caveat is that after they are done with it, to please pass it on to someone that they think may find it useful or return it to me so I can give it to another family.   This book is small and therefore readable by busy parents and in my estimation contains the essentials about attachment.

As Myrna says, it’s a guidebook for ‘Co-creating secure attachment’, and she does that by being concise but complete. I like knowing that attachment parenting is not just some fad or someone’s opinion-there’s research that supports attachment for healthy development of the child.  Knowing it supports their child’s ability to regulate their emotions, cope with stress and form healthy relationships is important, but to understand that it also affects their ability to learn and affects the health of their body through regulating the heart, neuroendocrine and immune systems – this gives parents even more concrete reasons to learn about and practice this thing we call attachment.

Myrna talks about when attachment begins, and how it develops, specific to each developmental stage of the child from preconception to 18 months of age.  Importantly, for parents/caregivers, she includes an extensive list of tips that support secure attachment, which begins with Slow the Pace and includes Baby’s Body Language, Eye Contact, Touch, Motion, Watching for and Respecting Activation and Settling Cycles, Recognizing when babies and children are relating to their History, and lastly Recognizing when Parents and Infants or Preschoolers Need More Support.

Although this book is directed towards the new family, it contains information that benefits families of all ages and speaks to healing and optimizing attachment patterns, enriching the lives of all family members.

Neurofeedback works: Van der Kolk


van der kolk


Psychiatrist and trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk, MD, posted a webinar on neurofeedback August 9 which knocked me out. It changes the whole map on trauma healing. It may come down soon; please check it asap:

[Or try this link to a 5 min intro. His  72-min seminar is below at “Click Here to Begin Your Free One Hour CE Seminar”]
Please forward this your lists of therapists, colleagues, anyone interested in healing. Dr. Van der Kolk has promoted EMDR, yoga, and body work for decades. Now folks with early trauma can check out neurofeedback.

I’ve so far done 10 months of neurofeedback and the healing is enormous. But it’s not known enough or funded. Getting word out could stop suffering.
At minute 20, Van der Kolk shows graphics on how Sebern Fisher introduced him to neurofeedback. “She showed me drawings that traumatized kids did of their families (stick figures), then how they developed after 20 weeks of neurofeedback (real people), after 40 weeks (an attached group), and I was blown away by their development,” he says.
“There’s nothing I know that can do that,” he says. “When you see something like that, you pay attention. Can my psychoanalysis do that?  Can my acceptance and commitment therapy do that?  Can my friends who do EMDR or Somatic Experiencing do that? No. Nothing I know of can do THAT. Time to learn new things.”

My earlier blog on neurofeedback with links to Sebern Fisher interviews and locator pages to find a practitioner are here:
I got a shock as Van der Kolk described “ways of being” which I have in spades, but never knew are symptoms of brain disorganization. Here’s what Van der Kolk said that knocked me for a loop:
“Our brain is shaped by human interactions, by the way that people respond to us, to rhythms, voices, touch, sounds, how we make music together.  We are rhythmic machines; I talk to you and move my hands, my face, and I image you responding in kind."

“But if you talk to your partner and they freeze their face, your mind goes blank — because we need feedback… If the world does not respond to you, if people do not smile at you, if as a little kid  when you come home people say, “Oh, you again”?  You miss the experience of being in tune with people. It goes to the very core of our central nervous system.”

At this point (6 minutes in) I had to lay down on the floor and sob for 10 minutes. It totaled me.  I had no attunement experiences until I was 4  1/2 and my sister was born. No responses, no rhythm.
“If you have many attunement experiences,” he says, ” when you get scared, someone’s there so the feeling gets repaired; someone gets mad but soon they repair it, then you get a sense of flow with other people. You know we can do things together, we can work things out. You know I can have a voice because my voice has an impact on you. You can have a voice because your voice has an impact on me.”

Again I was sobbing. What is he talking about?  Have a voice, what’s that?  I never had an impact. Work things out?  Unheard of.  I’m terrified at mis-attunement. I have no experience that what I feel matters.

In abuse or neglect, he says, “these neural rhythms get broken. The most important parts of the brain to grow in first years of life get you in tune with people, tell you what to be scared of, when to feel safe, how to connect, how to be in synch.”  I was never in synch.
At minute 15:30  he shows astonishing brain scans. He says they show that when normal people hear a strange sound (“eeek”), they need to figure out what it means, “so all the different parts of the brain synchronize to focus on that. They’ve developed an N-200 filtering wave that says ‘ignore your phone, your hunger… just pay attention to this sound.’

“But traumatized people have enormous problems filtering out irrelevant information. They are hyper-stimulated by sounds, sights, images, body sensation, have a terrible time filtering them out. As you see here, traumatized people have very different wave forms. Different parts of the brain are not in synch… which explains why they have such a hard time learning from new experiences… taking new information into the brain, paying attention, taking in life as it comes, learning from it.”
That’s me. I’m hyper-stimulated by sounds, sights, images, body sensation. Half the time I can’t filter them out.  This last point really concerns me.  I had no idea that most people can filter out these things.

I just called my neurofeedback therapist and told him that I need a lot more help. “I’m afraid both of us under-estimate how disorganized my brain is,” I said. “You may want to try other areas of my brain for your sensors and/or other procedures” during neurofeedback.

Thank Heaven for neurofeedback and fighters like Dr. van der Kolk.

Module Six: Couples, From an Attachment Perspective

This Module delineates the dynamics of couples interaction and suggests effective tools for working with these issues.I am very excited about this module, as couple relationship and parenting is where, as adults, our own early attachment and adverse experiences most REVEAL themselves.  It can also be a place where resiliency shines.

About Module Five: Ancestral Double Binds

About Module Five: Ancestral Double Binds

In this module, we will explore ancestral influences on individuation/connection, and merging dynamics (in pre and perinatal work we call this 'twin dynamics')...An extensive home project will be suggested for everyone. Treatment models will be explored.

As the twin and multiple birth rate is continuing to increase this module also looks at twin pregnancy, the impact of losing a twin during pregnancy, and growing up as a twin.  I will delineate the difference between identical and fraternal twins, and because more twins mean more breech positions for babies about to be born we will also look briefly at breech birth.

About Module Four: Chemical and Surgical Imprinting During Birth

About Module Four: Chemical and Surgical Imprinting During Birth

This module marks a big transition in this video series.   In Module One I included the Maternal Matrix, which outlines what we optimally would have received in an embodied way by the time we were three years old...Chemical and surgical interventions, or the presence of them in our early life strongly and effectively take us out of our bodies and beings.  We will delve into the signature patterns of these interventions (in module 4) in our autonomic nervous systems.

About Module Two: Preconception and Conception Journey

About Module Two: Preconception and Conception Journey

This module starts with an exploration of our inner and outer resources.  When we begin to reveal to ourselves all that babies and young children need and deserve to optimally grow and be themselves, it may bring up some of the experiences of what we didn’t get and wanted.  

Resources and regulation is important so we are not overwhelmed.  Just acknowledging what actually happened to us helps us to consciously repattern and make different choices….as we are soooooo much more than what happened to us.  


Three Hearts: The Neurobiology of Love in the Childbearing Year

  Article for Pathways

Three Hearts: The Neurobiology of Love in the Childbearing Year

Right from the beginning, from conception onward we are in training to develop and refine our capacity to love, through learning to co regulate our autonomic nervous system, and eventually to do a balance of  self regulation and co regulation.  Our preconception, prenatal and birth and very early history affect our level of anxiety and our basic response to connection.  Mothering (not gender specific) creates an ongoing oxytocin response that lets us know we are safe and lovable in human connection.  This oxytocin response helps us grow parts of our hearts and brains that produce and receive oxytocin, ‘the love hormone’, which makes love one of the best feelings possible. 

We may ask ourselves how does this happen anyway?  What does love have to do with it?   The basic premise is that there is no such being as a baby  -  there is only a mother/baby (Winnicott), in a particular social and emotional environment.  And we know from the science of epigenetics this begins long before conception even, especially the 110 days before conception.  The egg in the mother’s womb begins maturing and preparing to ovulate, and is selecting genes in the second meiosis.  At this time follicular cells surrounding the egg are a whole communication structure with the mother and her environment.   Already, this egg is recording what the mother is experiencing, and through the mother, what the family is experiencing.  Once the egg is fertilized this process continues and the embryo/fetus/baby builds her body, brain, heart and nervous system to suit this environment.  This social and emotional environment, through these epigenetic changes, affects the health of this being decades later.  We can think of the unborn baby as the inner body, the mother as the outer body, and the partner and extended family as the social body – a layered field that the baby is growing in.

Pregnant couples create this resonant field together that holds all three hearts.  The embryo’s cardiogenic cells are present from the first vertical structure created by the embryo.  If the mother is a single mother then the significant others in her life are creating this field with her.  Our focus is this system of connection, where individual assets are joined into mutual assets, where the sum is greater than the parts, This is the environment, the field, that the growing fetus is held in.  Each partner’s well being rests in the devotion to the well being of the other.  If they are able to provide safety, comfort and security, especially in times of distress, the couple will develop a system of mutual regulation as well as self regulation.  This is the optimal support for the developing baby’s brain and nervous system.  From preconception onward the experience in the womb shapes the expression of health, personality, emotional temperament, and the power for higher thought.  These unborn babies are listening to us about what this world is like, long before we are listening to them.

By 24 weeks gestation the fetus responses with precise movements to each sound in the mother’s speech, at the exact nanosecond, if she is awake.  We can hardly imagine the level of attunement.  Even in the first trimester the baby is hearing the mother’s voice through the vibration in her forming bones, and eventually develops hearing within her ears.  These unborn babies react to arguing and fighting, with extreme startle and stress responses.  And of course, if that happens very occasionally this is not going to negatively affect brain development, but if it is frequent the growing fetus is building anxiety and a highly reactive acute stress response into the hypothalamus pituitary adrenal axis.  Of course, if the couple is experiencing, mostly, a loving, supportive relationship this is creating a relaxed, calm baby. Unborn babies ask that their parents clear up tensions in their relationship and develop a style of “our job is to take care of each other and go towards the other if she/he is distressed”.  Parents growing empathy for each other is one of the main skills necessary to be wonderful parents.  We don't need to be perfect – if we get it right with our partner or our child from an emotional perspective about 2 out of 3 times, we are doing ‘good enough’ to grow love and safety.  The heart of the matter of being human IS seeking and maintaining contact with significant others, and fearing isolation and loss.  Even as adults we need those safe havens.  

Dr. Gerhard Schroth  (2009, 2015), at the University of Hamberg, Germany, researched working with mothers around their own pregnancy and birth, over a period of twenty weeks prenatally, and discovered that if the mother  came to  resolution with any trauma from her own birth and spent time in quiet stillness each day she would begin to develop a strong sense of what her unborn baby wants to communicate to her.  This is listening to the baby, who is able to directly communicate by the second half of pregnancy.  Mothers could even ask specific questions of the baby.  One personal experience I know is a mother who was listening to her baby and the baby was specifically telling her  “We need an ultrasound”.  This mother had not had, and was not planning to have any ultrasounds during the pregnancy and was expecting to have a natural home birth.  After several weeks of the baby communicating this to her she finally decided she needed to do it.  She discovered that the baby had a very short umbilical cord, only about 7 inches long, and both she and her baby would have been in grave danger if she had gone into labor. As she lived 45 minutes from hospital they would not have been safe, due to the cord tearing during the labor.  She was able to have a necessary Caesarean Section birth, with no separation of her and her son, skin to skin and nursing within twenty minutes.   Another set of  experiences I have personal knowledge of is three mothers who had a blood test that was positive for Down’s Syndrome.  This blood test has many false positives and the medical recommendation is to follow up with an Amniocentesis, which has a level of risk of triggering premature labor, and therefore pregnancy loss.  It is also an incredibly emotional and invasive procedure.  These mothers, through the baby communicating with them that they were healthy, and did not have Downs’  Syndrome, were able to relax, believe their babies,  not worry, and sure enough, all delivered healthy, normal babies with no genetic abnormalities.   Schroth also showed that mothers who have this delightful communication and connection with their babies in utero have easier births and breastfeeding and calmer, happier babies than when this is missing prenatally.

Mothers can learn to differentiate their own feelings from their baby, for example, “I am angry with your papa, I am not angry with you, sweet baby in my tummy, and both your papa and I love you.” This consciousness helps both the parent and the unborn baby,or  born baby and child, not fall into a relationship where the child takes on the responsibility for the parent’s feelings.  

Safety, security  and a sense of being lovable are established in our limbic system of our brain in the last trimester of pregnancy and the first three months of life outside the womb.  This implicit knowing is somatic, and lasts a lifetime. This is the source of our approach and avoidance impulses, and tolerances with our primary attachment people like our parents and later our partners  Our brain continues to grow and develop our emotional and regulating capacity from three to nine months,  when, with positive parenting, we develop our ability to hold attention and concentration,  know who and what we like and receive comfort and safety in the known, hence a positive development of separation anxiety.  As a baby learns to crawl away and explore, she learns that she can trust her parent to be there when she turns back to show excitement, or if she needs to be comforted.  By eighteen months the baby has grown the neural pathways up to the prefrontal cortex, the emotional CEO of the brain, and can begin to modulate her responses to the environment, read faces and social cues accurately.  By this time, the template for our relationship with ourselves, others, our capacity to concentrate and learn, our ability to and style of coping with stress  and our neural pathways to our organs are established.  This will influence our immune system, our cardiovascular, and metabolic health decades later.  It is important to note that our brains are plastic and can change, if we have expanded, corrective emotional experiences later on.  

Emotion is the prime change place and supporting couples to restructure the emotional dynamics will help optimize baby’s brain development.  It is not insight that brings change.  Having a new baby can motivate and help couples learn to focus on, validate and accept the other’s experience and be with it, with support.  The couple together then can structure key healing experiences, in this new parenthood period - IF they have enough support. Sex can continue to help forge and strengthen the bond, and in orgasm oxytocin is released, and the good feeling is linked with that particular person.  Skin to skin with baby and each other after the birth releases this same oxytocin.

As professionals, we can help the couple expand their awareness of their experience and make new meaning of it.  Often unmetabolized, unprocessed events of each parents own prenatal, birth and childhood experiences will arise to be worked with.  We can start by mapping out the cycles where they ‘miss’ each other, and name the patterns.  The couple can build positive appreciation by doing something daily that their partner would like.  And they can spend time daily talking to and interacting with their unborn or born baby together.  It is important that they begin naming their own emotions out loud, increasing awareness of each other, and themselves.  This is crucial for positive, self reflective parenting.  This also helps pregnant couples prepare for labor, as they are practicing hearing each other.  The partner is hearing the pregnant mom, and practicing what actually feels supportive to her, and she is doing the same.  In labor, this resonant field of their heart together helps the labor go more smoothly, even if the birth plan changes. 

How much stress and lack of love and safety is detrimental to the unborn and infant?  Small amounts of moderate stress is unavoidable in life, and is helpful to the developing baby.  Stress becomes toxic to the child if it is a truly acute overwhelming traumatic experience, like the death of the partner, an experience like 9/11, or a hurricane.  Also, if a high level of stress is chronic and the mother feels helpless to change her situation, hopeless in her life, this negatively affects the baby.  Toxic stress creates high levels of cortisol in the baby’s growing body and brain, which reduces the actual number of  cells, nerves and blood vessels that are created in the organs.  The baby will be more irritable, less consolable, and even at age six will show signs of inhibition of motor skills and ability to concentrate.

When Mom has a natural childbirth without medication or other interventions, during labor, oxytocin levels rise gradually, reaching a peak just around the time of the actual birth, and they stay incredibly high for at least four days.  The baby also produces increasing amounts of oxytocin during labor and peaks just after birth.  The skin to skin, eye contact, and first suckling reinforce and support nursing, secure attachment and help maintain high oxytocin levels – the deep falling in love period.

High levels of beta-endorphins in mom and baby at birth also enhance attachment and mutual pleasure, and the peak of prolactin, the hormone of tender mothering,  ensures feeling of love and pleasure.  Fathers also show an increase in oxytocin and prolactin if they care for their babies.  Just 15 minutes alone with their baby for dads, in the first week, means they will spend much more time with this little one over the first two years.  Prolactin and oxytocin are the main hormones in breast milk, and both are important for optimal brain and neuroendocrine development in the baby.   Epidurals, analgesics, induction drugs all alter the hormonal picture during labor and delivery, and the emotional connections present at a natural delivery.  Skin to skin and physical handling influence the concentrations of cortisol receptors, allowing the infant to produce less cortisol and return to baseline faster.  This helps with stress management in energy efficient ways, and that contributes to long term health.

Back to what the hearts have to do with it.  Somewhere between 35-50% of the heart cells are neurons, which function as a brain structure, and connect with the prefrontal cortex through the amygdala and thalamus.  The heart is a highly complex, information processing center which is in direct communicate with our limbic system.  The mother’s heart, when her baby is within the three feet zone of her heart, is regulating the baby’s physiology: temperature, breathing, glucose regulation, which is why skin to skin is so important.  A personal example of this is when a young couple I worked with had twin baby girls.  Although she was 38 weeks and a good size, one twin was having problems with glucose regulation and was taken to the NICU.  Her sister was far away, with her mother.  24 hours passed, and the sick twin was not recovering, so this young father, age 23, went to the NICU, picked up his daughter, saying ‘she belongs with her twin and her mother.  Then nurses were desperate to stop him from taking her out of the NICU to the ward, but he plowed through and put her skin to skin with sister and mother.  Within one hour her glucose regulation was normal and they all went home the next morning.   

If the mom has a coherent heart rate variability, reflecting a balanced autonomic nervous system, the baby will have more sustained visual attention, less temperament difficulties, learn to be more effective in self soothing, show more exploration, creativity, and learn socially appropriate behaviors earlier.  When a baby is growing in this resonate heart field, and the dad also is in a coherent heart rate variability the eye contact between mom and dad,  the parents and baby stimulate dopamine and opioids in the pleasure and reward centers of the brain, which also increases the availability of fuel to the brain.  It also increases the density and strength of the connections from the autonomic nervous system to the right prefrontal cortex – this helps the infant integrate and stay in a moderate state of attention and arousal.  Good news for mothers too.  Motherhood improves learning, memory, and increases the connections within mom’s brain, literally reshaping the limbic system, if mom has enough support and love.  This early time is the perfect opportunity for early intervention to support mothers.

Parents can realize emotions, and the heart field they hold with each other, is central to their baby’s ability to learn and to eventually self regulate.  The parent’s ability to detect, empathize with, name and help with feelings predicts future happiness in their children, and in partnerships.  Each person in the triad is really worth it, worth the effort involved to learn to name emotions, work with them, and create a healthy emotional dynamic between the couple.  Then their baby can be held within a safe, secure, loving container and develop optimally.  


Bergman, N, & Bergman, J. (2010) Hold Your Premie. Geddes Production, San Francisco, CA

Larsen, William, Human Embryology, 4rd Edition, (2009). Churchill Livingston.

Lipton, B. (2005) The Biology of Belief. Hay House, NY, NY

Martin, M. (2015), Birth and Attachment: How to totally support your baby from here on. To order visit:

Nathanielsz, P. (2001).  The Prenatal Prescription: A state of the art program for optimal prenatal care. New York, NY: Harper Collins.

Porges, S. (2011) The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication and Self Regulation. 

Schore, A. (2001). The effects of Early Relational Trauma on Right Brain Development, Affect Regulation and Infant Mental Health.  Infant Mental Health Journal,22, 201-269.

Schore, A. (2002). Dysregulation of the Right Brain: A Fundamental Mechanism of Traumatic Attachment and the Psychopathogenesis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry.  Vol. 36, 9-30.

Schore, A. (2012). The Science of the Art of Psychotherapy 

Schroth, G. (2010) Prenatal Bonding (BA): A Method for Encountering the Unborn-Introduction and Case study. Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health 25(1), 3-16.
Schroth, G. (2015) Peri-/Postpartale Depression - eine (primäre) Aufgabe der Psychotherapie. Psychotherapie Aktuell. 7(5) 9-16

Schroth, G. (2015) An Interview with Gerhard Schroth Prenatal Bonding: A Universal Healing.  Journal of Somatic Psychology, Spring, 2015.

Seigel, D. (2009) The Neurobiology of WE, and How to Use Brain Research in Therapy (audio CD’s) 

Seigel, D. & Bryson, T. (2011). The Whole Brain Child. Delecorte, NY, NY

Physical Contact

Physical Contact

By Georgia Argyle

As our children are born they leave a world in which they have been completely embraced by our physicality, where they are ‘held’ 24 hours a day for many months. That all encompassing touch is vital to the wellbeing of the child long after they are born contributing to their emotional, physical, psychological and social well being. As children grow older their need for touch diminishes in quantity but the need for touch remains throughout life. We depend upon touch as clearly as we depend upon food and water and the consequences of lack are equally dire.