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Piontelli, A. (1987). Infant Observation from Before Birth. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 68:453-463.

(1987). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 68:453-463

Infant Observation from Before Birth

Alessandra Piontelli


This paper describes research on the extension of infant observation to pre-natal life with the aid of ultrasounds.

First there is some mention of the technique of ultrasounds and of the advances in our knowledge of pre-natal life brought about by it. A description of the research follows: 5–6 ultrasonographic observations lasting about one hour each starting from the 14th–18th week of pregnancy are carried out at monthly intervals till the end of pregnancy. During such observations the behaviour of the foetus is observed and each time the behaviour of the mother is also taken into account. After birth mother and child are then followed at home with infant observations as described by Bick.

So far this research seems to be pointing to the possibility of detecting early markers of character already in utero. Two examples are given to illustrate this thesis.

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