About Ann Diamond Weinstein

The Impacts of Past Trauma on Experience and Outcomes During the Preconception, 

Prenatal and Early Parenting Periods: The Critical Importance of Trauma Informed Care 

This presentation will provide recent knowledge and research that will deepen participants’ understanding of the crucial importance of providing trauma informed care and education to parents-to-be who hold the imprints of traumatic experiences that occurred over the course of their lives, from their own conception to the present. The positive impacts of providing trauma sensitive care to mothers-to-be and their developing prenates are supported by recent research that demonstrates how maternal psychophysiological states during pregnancy impact the health, development and behavior of offspring over their life span.

Given the statistics on the prevalence of trauma experienced by women and girls before and during the childbearing years, the fact that these statistics do not reflect all experiences that result in traumatic stress over the life span, the probability that some mothers-to-be will not share the fact they have experienced trauma with practitioners, and the fact that some survivors of trauma do not have conscious memory of these experiences, it is vital that practitioners approach women and girls during the preconception, prenatal and early parenting periods with the awareness of how traumatic imprints may be manifested in their physiology and embodied behavior. Recognition of the varied ways traumatic stress is exhibited in trauma survivors during activated states of hyperarousal and hypoarousal/dissociation allows practitioners to mindfully and compassionately adapt the care and education they provide to their clients/patients and students who may be trauma survivors, whether or not they are aware of these individuals’ past experiences.

Trauma sensitive practice supports a felt-sense of safety in mothers-to-be by taking into consideration multiple aspects of safety—physical, psychological, social and moral—that shape maternal-prenate experience and physiology and impact maternal child outcomes. Understanding how internal and external cues activate defense system reactions in trauma survivors will increase practitioners’ awareness of how the quality of their interactions may support or diminish a felt-sense of safety in mothers-to-be and their developing babies.

Recent guidelines for trauma sensitive practice created by trauma therapists can increase practitioners’ recognition of defense system activation in their clients/patients and themselves and educate them in ways they can support the reduction of defense system activation in the present moment. Incorporating trauma sensitive practice into preconception, prenatal and early postnatal care will benefit parents-to-be and their developing babies.  

About Ann Diamond Weinstein, PhD

Ann Diamond Weinstein is a Preconception, Prenatal and Early Parenting Specialist. She holds a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology. The focus of her work is the relationship between prenatal and early postnatal development and experience, and an individual’s health, behavior and relationships over their life span. Dr. Weinstein’s recent book, Prenatal Development and Parents’ Lived Experiences: How Early Events Shape Our Psychophysiology and Relationships (2016), Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology, presents knowledge, research and theory from multiple disciplines that provide the foundation for the exploration of how experiences during the earliest developmental period—from conception to birth—impact an individual physically, cognitively, emotionally and socially over the course of their life. She provides education and consultation to mental health and health professionals, educators, individuals and families. Dr. Weinstein offers trauma-informed educational seminars and videoconference study groups on the impacts of maternal prenatal and postnatal psychophysiological states on the developing baby, including those associated with stress, post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression. Her focus on the effects of maternal prenatal stress and traumatic stress on pregnancy, birth, the early postpartum period and the origins of the maternal-child relationship illuminates the critical importance of addressing the unique needs of each mother-to-be during their transition to parenting. Dr. Weinstein’s work explores the value of nurturing prenatal and perinatal internal and external environments that evoke a felt-sense of safety in mothers-to-be, including consideration of the multiple aspects of safety—physical, psychological, social and moral—that shape maternal-prenate experience and physiology, and maternal-child outcomes. Dr. Weinstein is committed to working with practitioners on the integration of trauma sensitive approaches to care and education in the preconception, prenatal and early postnatal periods. In her work with practitioners, she emphasizes the importance of the recognition of the varied ways that trauma experienced over the life span of mothers-to-be and new mothers, may be imprinted and manifested in their physiology and embodied behavior and impact their developing babies and attachment relationships.

Dr. Weinstein was a keynote presenter at the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health’s 20th International Congress in 2017 and received APPPAH’s 2017 Research Contribution Award.

 Dr. Weinstein’s blog, From the Beginning: The Prenatal Origins of the Parent-Child Relationship can be viewed at www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-beginning. Learn more about Dr. Weinstein’s work at www.anndiamondweinstein.com.


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