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Mindfulness- and Compassion-Based Parenting Interventions Applied to the Postpartum Period: A Systematic Review


The postpartum period involves several psychological and emotional challenges for parents that can interfere with the quality of parent-infant interactions, which may have negative consequences for the child development and parental mental health. Mindfulness- and compassion-based parenting interventions may help parents develop adaptive parenting skills and adjust better to the parental role during this period, since mindfulness and compassion are considered modifiable and protective skills that allow parents to better regulate their emotions in parenting and to establish a secure relationship with the infant. We conducted a systematic review, according to the PRISMA guidelines, to comprehensively examine the evidence regarding the effect of those interventions applied to the postpartum period. A systematic search of all papers published prior to December 2019 was conducted in four electronic databases. Empirical studies published in peer-reviewed journals with postpartum parents who participated in a mindfulness- and compassion-based intervention were included. After screening 1651 references, we identified nine eligible studies in nine journal articles. The intervention programs were mainly mindfulness-based, with 8 to 12 weekly sessions delivered in a group format. Most of them were conducted with samples of mother-infant dyads, and the baby was present in some or all intervention sessions. The interventions mainly used mindfulness-based formal and informal meditations, interactive play and group discussion and were associated with the promotion of parenting skills and the quality of parental caregiving. Although there is insufficient evidence about the efficacy and effectiveness of the interventions, this systematic review suggests that there are several mindfulness- and compassion-based parenting interventions using different therapeutic techniques that seem to be beneficial for promoting positive parenting skills and the quality of parent-infant relationships in the early parenting years, including the postpartum period.


  • Mindfulness- and compassion-based parenting interventions may promote positive parenting skills in the postpartum period;

  • Mindfulness- and compassion-based parenting interventions may enhance the quality of parent-infant relationships in the postpartum period;

  • Additional rigorous trials applied to postpartum parents that focus on promoting parenting skills and the quality of the parent-infant relationship are needed.

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This work was supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT). Daniela Ventura Fernandes and Ana Rita Martins are supported by a PhD scholarship from the FCT (SFRH/BD/132588/2017 and SFRH/BD/122665/2016). The funders were not involved in the study design, the data collection and analysis or interpretation of the data, writing the manuscript, or the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

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DVF and HM conceptualized and designed the study. DVF conducted the search strategy, reviewed the titles and abstracts of the electronic and reference list searches, assessed the studies for eligibility, and wrote the paper. DVF and ARM developed the database searching, study selection and collected data; HM collaborated with the design and writing of the study and assisted with the data. DVF wrote the first draft of the manuscript. MCC collaborated in editing the final manuscript. All authors have read and approved the final version of the manuscript for submission.

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Correspondence to Daniela V. Fernandes.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Fernandes, D.V., Martins, A.R., Canavarro, M.C. et al. Mindfulness- and Compassion-Based Parenting Interventions Applied to the Postpartum Period: A Systematic Review. J Child Fam Stud 31, 563–587 (2022).

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