, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 190-202,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 10 Oct 2009

Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting Education: Promoting Family Mindfulness During the Perinatal Period

Abstract

We present the conceptual and empirical foundation and curriculum content of the Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting (MBCP) program and the results of a pilot study of n = 27 pregnant women participating in MBCP during their third trimester of pregnancy. MBCP is a formal adaptation of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program and was developed and refined over the course of 11 years of clinical practice with 59 groups of expectant couples. MBCP is designed to promote family health and well-being through the practice of mindfulness during pregnancy, childbirth, and early parenting. Quantitative results from the current study include statistically significant increases in mindfulness and positive affect, and decreases in pregnancy anxiety, depression, and negative affect from pre- to post-test (p < .05). Effect sizes for changes in key hypothesized intervention mediators were large (d > .70), suggesting that MBCP is achieving its intended effects on maternal well-being during pregnancy. Qualitative reports from participants expand upon the quantitative findings, with the majority of participants reporting perceived benefits of using mindfulness practices during the perinatal period and early parenting. Our future research will involve conducting a randomized controlled trial of MBCP to test effects on psychophysiological stress mechanisms and to examine effects on birth outcomes, family relationship quality, and child development outcomes.