About Beatriz de Guzman Manrique, Ph.D.

Dr. Beatriz Manrique is a leading research psychologist, psychotherapist, professor and author specializing in prenatal and early childhood development. Educated at Venezuela’s Central University in Caracas and Yale University, she is also director of the world’s most extensive experiment in prenatal stimulation. Among other distinctions, her work has been recognized by the Association for Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH), and she was the 1995 recipient of the Thomas R. Verny Prize. http://www.birthpsychology.com/violence/conference.html#one

The winner of the 1995 Thomas R. Verny Award for Outstanding Contributions to Pre- and Perinatal Psychology is an extraordinary mother of four children, grandmother of six, professor, author, psychotherapist, research psychologist, and Director of the world's most ambitious experiment in prenatal stimulation. She is President of CEDIHAC, the Spanish initials which can be translated The Research Center of Human Integral Development through the Community, in Caracas, Venezuela.

Dr. Manrique studied at the Central University of Venezuela and at Yale University. She teaches at her alma mater and at Catholic University and Metropolitan University in Caracas. For five years she directed "Project Family," a key instrument of the Ministry for Intelligence Development, a unique effort of the government of Venezuela. With inspiration from California obstetrician Rene Van de Carr--the Grandfather of prenatal stimulation--she went on to design a comprehensive program of enrichment for pregnant mothers and fathers involving 600 families in the slums of Caracas. The first news of this large undertaking was published in the Pre- & Perinatal Psychology Journal in the Winter issue 1989.

In her research design, Dr. Manrique arranged for thorough testing of babies at important milestones of development for six years following the experimental stimulation. Subjects were carefully arranged into experimental and control groups so that tests would reveal the practicality and usefulness of the program. Created to break the cycle of poverty and misery for children and families, the program begins when the prenate is about 20 weeks gestational age. Beatriz created the educational materials for the parents and trained the staff. Mothers met in small classes for two hours a week for three months to learn to interact with their babies in the womb through singing, talking, and other stimulations. They were guided to improve their nutrition and prepare confidently for childbirth.

Systematic testing and comparisons show that the program has been a resounding success. Testing revealed that the stimulated babies have been consistently superior in visual, auditory, language, memory, and motor development compared to those who did not have the program of prenatal enrichment. At age three, to give just one example, the stimulated babies had an advantage of 14 IQ points, as measured by the Stanford-Binet scales, over those who had missed the program. In addition, mothers gained in confidence, were more active at birth, more successful in breastfeeding, showed more intense bonding, and had greater family cohesion (husbands remaining in the household after birth.)

By intensive and comprehensive effort in her work with 684 families, measuring babies for six years, Dr. Manrique has proven the critical importance and unquestionable benefits of prenatal stimulation activities. Her success in Caracass has laid a strong foundation for programs of this kind which the government will sponsor throughout Venezuela, and which can also spread to other countries of the world.

The Citation, presented with the award check, read as follows: "To Beatriz Guzman de Manrique, Ph.D., psychologist extraordinary, you are the 1995 recipient of the Thomas R. Verny Prize for Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Health. With heartfelt devotion, unswerving purpose, and consummate professionalism you have proved to the families of the world the benefits of prenatal bonding."
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