Prenatal and Perinatal Foundations of Moral Development

Millicent Adams Dosh

Drawing upon an impressive body of writing and published research in the area of prenatal and perinatal psychology, the author here presents her own thoughts about the critical importance of the prenatal and perinatal period as foundational for the later moral development and behavior of the person. She argues that any design for moral education must take this early period into account. Mutual connection ofaffectional bonding between people, when honored during the time of prenatal life, birth , breastfeeding and early infancy, acts as a template influencing how later experiences are felt, perceived and integrated. The origins of love as well as of alienation lie in prenatal and perinatal interactions with mother, caretaker and culture.  

(Reprinted by permission of Journal of Prenatal and erinatal Psychology and Health, Spring/Summer 1999)