Professional Resource

ZERO TO THREE Journal—May 2019: Parenting Begins Before Birth

May 16, 2019

Take a look inside the May 2019 issue of the ZERO TO THREE Journal.

Released bi-monthly, each issue of the ZERO TO THREE Journal focuses on a critical topic within the early childhood development field. Journal articles are carefully composed to present current knowledge, latest research, and practical advice to help early childhood professionals do their best work in support of infants and toddlers.

Editor's Notes | This Issue and Why it Matters

Stefanie Powers | Editor

Parent–child relationships are a cornerstone of healthy child devel-opment. During pregnancy, expectant parents are already developing an emotional connection to their child and beginning their parenting journey. Expectant parents begin to create an image of what their child might be like, as well as what kind of parent they want to be. It is often a time in which parents-to-be reevaluate their own childhood experiences and come to a new understanding of their own develop-ment and relationships. Research on prenatal attachment suggests that pregnancy is an ideal time to support new parents in creating strong, positive, and nurturing relationships as they grow their families. The short- and long-term benefits of strong attachment in the prenatal period can be found in children’s cognition, emotional development, and social interactions.

The articles in this issue of the Journal explore a variety of programs, approaches, and research initiatives pertaining to prenatal attachment and parental support. Research shows that parents-to-be benefit from the opportunity to reflect on their early experiences and connect those to current relationships and future ideals. Whether parents have had positive or adverse experiences, reflecting on and sharing those experiences provides the opportunity to build hope and optimism for the future.

Moreover, when mental health issues, such as depression, are addressed during pregnancy, children and families are better equipped to manage the stressors of childbirth and the postpartum period. There has been an increased awareness about postpartum depression in both research and practice, but depression during pregnancy is equally as prevalent and deleterious. Maternal stress and trauma have a direct impact on the developing fetus, and those negative impacts can have long-lasting developmental consequences.

The good news is that pregnancy may provide a unique opportunity for intervention due to the physical and emotional upheaval it brings—women are often more involved in the health care system for prenatal care, and parents are often receptive to support as they negotiate the significant life changes and challenges that accompany the anticipa-tion of new parenthood. Much work remains to be done to remove the barriers to access mental health services and family support during pregnancy, but much is to be gained by supporting parents-to-be as early as possible in giving their children the best start in life.

Table of Contents

FREE Featured Article

Take a look inside this issue and read our featured article, Anticipating the Stork: Stress and Trauma During Pregnancy and the Importance of Prenatal Parenting by Pamela Scorza and Catherine Monk.

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