The physical process of birth is no longer as mysterious as it once was. But many unanswered psychological questions still surround the birth of a child. In this remarkably appealing and personable book, pediatrician Aidan Macfarlane takes a careful look at a large number of these important psychological unknowns.
On Macfarlane’s agenda: Can a woman’s emotional attitude toward pregnancy cause “morning sickness,” influence the smoothness of labor and delivery, or shape the child’s behavior after birth? Can the mother–child relationship be adversely affected by separation immediately after birth? Is the quality of the birth experience improved by home delivery? What are the psychological effects of pain-killing drugs on mother and child? What, if anything, does the unborn infant see, hear, and feel inside the womb? Is birth a psychological trauma for the child and, if so, how can it be alleviated?
Although Dr. Macfarlane refuses to provide easy answers to any of these questions, his clear discussion of the available evidence is not without important consequences for the way in which we understand birth and manage it in our society.