Archives of Women's Mental Health

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 139–143 | Cite as

Mindful pregnancy and childbirth: effects of a mindfulness-based intervention on women’s psychological distress and well-being in the perinatal period

  • Cassandra DunnEmail author
  • Emma Hanieh
  • Rachel Roberts
  • Rosalind Powrie
Short Communication


This pilot study explored the effects of an 8-week mindfulness-based cognitive therapy group on pregnant women. Participants reported a decline in measures of depression, stress and anxiety; with these improvements continuing into the postnatal period. Increases in mindfulness and self-compassion scores were also observed over time. Themes identified from interviews describing the experience of participants were: ‘stop and think’, ‘prior experience or expectations’, ‘embracing the present’, ‘acceptance’ and ‘shared experience’. Childbirth preparation classes might benefit from incorporating training in mindfulness.


Mindfulness Pregnancy Stress Anxiety Depression Intervention 


Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Allen M, Bromley A, Kuyken W, Sonnenberg SJ (2009) Participants’ experiences of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy: “it changed me in just about every way possible”. Behav Cogn Psychother 37:413–430PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brown KW, Ryan RM (2003) The benefits of being present: mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. J Pers Soc Psychol 84:822–848PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cox JL, Holden JM, Sagovsky R (1987) Detection of postnatal depression. Development of the 10-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Br J Psychiatry 150:782–786PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dimidjian S, Goodman S (2009) Nonpharmacologic intervention and prevention strategies for depression during pregnancy and the postpartum. Clin Obstet Gynecol 54:498–515. doi: 10.1097/GRF.0b013e3181b52da6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Duncan LG, Bardacke N (2009) Mindfulness-based childbirth and parenting education: promoting family mindfulness during the perinatal period. J Child Fam Stud. doi: 10.1007/s10826-009-9313-7
  6. Hayes SC, Strosahl KD, Wilson KD (1999) Acceptance and commitment therapy: an experiential approach to behavior change. Guilford, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. Lovibond PF, Lovibond SH (1995) Manual for the depression anxiety stress scales, 2nd edn. Psychology Foundation of Australia, SydneyGoogle Scholar
  8. Mason O, Hargreaves I (2001) A qualitative study of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression. Br J Med Psychol 74:197–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Neff K (2003) The development and validation of a scale to measure self-compassion. Self Identity 2:223–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Segal ZV, Williams JMG, Teasdale JD (2002) Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression: a new approach to preventing relapse. Guilford, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  11. Vieten C, Astin J (2008) Effects of a mindfulness-based intervention during pregnancy on post-natal stress and mood: results of a pilot study. Arch Womens Ment Health 11:67–74PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. William M, Teasdale J, Segal Z, Kabat-Zinn J (2007) The mindful way through depression: freeing yourself from chronic unhappiness. Guilford, New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cassandra Dunn
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emma Hanieh
    • 2
  • Rachel Roberts
    • 1
  • Rosalind Powrie
    • 3
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Discipline of Psychiatry, School of MedicineUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.Discipline of Paediatrics and Psychiatry, School of MedicineUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

Personalised recommendations