Skip to main content

Birth Trauma

Birth trauma

In psychoanalysis, birth provides the first experience of anxiety in an individual's life.

In psychoanalytical theory, birth trauma is the first major occasion of great anxiety in the life of an individual experienced at birth as the infant moves from the gentle comfort of the womb into a new environment full of harsh and unfamiliar stimuli. While most psychoanalytical psychologists assign a moderate degree of importance to the birth trauma in terms of its effects, some believe that the birth trauma is the prototypical basis of all later anxiety neuroses. The universality of the birth experience presents obvious difficulties in the precise determination of the nature and effects of the birth trauma. The term birth trauma may also mean any physical injury to an infant that occurs during birth.

Further Reading

Hotchner, Tracy. Pregnancy and Childbirth: The Complete Guide for a New Life. 2nd ed. New York: Avon, 1990

Martin, Margaret. The Illustrated Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth. New York: Facts on File, 1991.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Birth Trauma." Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Birth Trauma." Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 18, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/birth-trauma

"Birth Trauma." Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology. . Retrieved November 18, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/birth-trauma

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.