Academic journal article Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health

Prenatal and Perinatal Medicine and Psychology towards Integrated Neurosciences: General Remarks and Future Perspectives

Academic journal article Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health

Prenatal and Perinatal Medicine and Psychology towards Integrated Neurosciences: General Remarks and Future Perspectives

Article excerpt

Abstract

Prenatal and perinatal psychology and medicine is an interdisciplinary scientific field of research and practice with the scientific focus on prenatal and perinatal conditions of human life. Prenatal period of human life represents a crucial phase in human life during which crucial developmental processes and regulations take place and these serve as adaptational strategies and physiological capabilities for the next postnatal life's periods. Moreover, it is generally accepted that experiences during critical periods of prenatal, perinatal and early childhood stages of life organize brain systems, and influence the immediate and long-term psychology and behavior of individual. A great body of evidence indicates that human brain development is organized from the very early time after fertilization

Key words: prenatal, perinatal, medicine, psychology, brain development, human mind, neuroscience

and human fetus exhibits behavioral patterns as well as processing of affective, social, sensory and other stimuli. New integrated approaches in research of early fetal brain and human mind bring data elucidating unique processes involved in the complex human mind development. This rapidly developing field of integrated neurosciences in prenatal and perinatal medicine is reflected in growing knowledge and new fundamental findings in behavioral embryology, psychoimmunoneuroendocrinolgy, neurogenetics and neuroepigenetics, research of bonding and other scientific areas. New approaches in both, research and clinical medicine could reinforce the current knowledge and establish new methods of primary and secondary prevention strategies as well as to contribute to the development of modern personalized medicine.

Introduction

Prenatal and perinatal psychology and medicine is an interdisciplinary scientific field of research and practice with the scientific focus on prenatal and perinatal conditions of human life. It includes an integrated knowledge in obstetrics and gynecology, midwifery, pediatrics, endocrinology, neuroendocrinology, psychoneuroendocrinology, reproductive medicine, psychiatry and child psychiatry, embryology, genetics, developmental psychology, child psychology, psychoanalyses and other psychotherapy, anthropology, human ethology, philosophy, theology, history, cultural psychology and social sciences. Prenatal psychology is often joined with perinatal psychology and includes interdisciplinary study of the foundations of health in body and mind. It explores the psychological and physiological effects and implications of the earliest experiences of the individual before birth (prenatal), as well as during and immediately after birth (perinatal) on the health and learning abilities of the individual (Fedor-Freybergh, 2011; èoltés & Radková, 2011). The prenatal period of human life represents a crucial phase in human life during which developmental processes and regulations take place and these serve as adaptation strategies and physiological capabilities for the next postnatal life's periods. Thus, there is a fluent development of all the levels of functioning, enhancing all the unique competences and organization changes from the prenatal period through the whole life span of the individual. Because of all these consequences, the concept of human life's continuum becomes of special importance. According to this concept, the human life has to be considered as an indivisible continuum, where each of the developmental stages is equally important (Fedor-Freybergh & Maas, 2011). In this continuum, the individual represents an indivisible entity of all functions on physiological, psychological and social levels. The physical, biochemical, endocrinological and psychological processes represent a whole that cannot be divided. The continuum of life begins in utero. It is not possible to separate any stages of human development from the rest of an individual life's continuum (Figure 1). The life continuum is one of the basic needs in human life in order to maintain homeostasis and equilibrium (Fedor-Freybergh & Maas, 2011). …

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