Improve Women’s Perception of Childbirth with Mindfulness

Improve Women’s Perception of Childbirth with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

It is inspiring to witness a mother with extreme fear of childbirth cancel an elective caesarian because she now feels confident enough in her own strength to go through the birthing process,” – Kira Newman

 

The period of pregnancy is a time of intense physiological and psychological change. Anxiety, depression, and fear are quite common during pregnancy. More than 20 percent of pregnant women have an anxiety disorder, depressive symptoms, or both during pregnancy. A debilitating childbirth fear has been estimated to affect about 6% or pregnant women and 13% are sufficiently afraid to postpone pregnancy. It is difficult to deal with these emotions under the best of conditions but in combinations with the stresses of pregnancy can turn what could be a joyous experience of creating a human life into a horrible worrisome, torment.

 

The psychological health of pregnant women has consequences for fetal development, birthing, and consequently, child outcomes. Women’s perception of the childbirth experience can influence their later psychological health. Mindfulness training has been shown to improve anxiety and depression normally and to relieve maternal anxiety and depression during pregnancy. It is reasonable, then, to hypothesize that women’s mindfulness will be related to their perception of the childbirth experience.

 

In today’s Research News article “Trait mindfulness during pregnancy and perception of childbirth.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7979659/ ) Hulsbosch and colleagues recruited pregnant women. In their 22nd week of pregnancy and measured them for mindfulness. At 7 to 21 days postpartum they completed measures of their perception of the childbirth experience and depression.

 

They found that the higher the levels of the mindfulness facets of acting with awareness and non-reactivity during pregnancy the greater the perception of childbirth experience after delivery. This remained the case even after accounting for demographic variables, depression, and physical events during delivery. Non-spontaneous delivery, includes induced labor, instrumental vaginal delivery, and unplanned Caesarean section and reflects a negative childbirth experience. Non-spontaneous delivery was associated with negative perceptions of the childbirth experience except for mothers who were high in the mindfulness facets of acting with awareness and non-judging during pregnancy.

 

These results are correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But they suggest that mindfulness enhances the perception of the childbirth experience for the mothers. This is true even in the case where the birth was not a natural spontaneous event. Since negative perceptions of childbirth are associate with later depression and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, being mindful during pregnancy is important for the psychological health of the mother. This suggests that mindfulness training during pregnancy my help to improve the mother’s perception of childbirth and improve subsequent psychological health.

 

So, improve women’s perception of childbirth with mindfulness

 

Taking part in a mindfulness course during pregnancy has been shown in a recent study to reduce the fear of labour, decrease the use of pain relief and lower the risk of postnatal depression.” – Tommy’s

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Hulsbosch, L. P., Boekhorst, M., Potharst, E. S., Pop, V., & Nyklíček, I. (2021). Trait mindfulness during pregnancy and perception of childbirth. Archives of women’s mental health, 24(2), 281–292. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00737-020-01062-8

 

Abstract

Women’s subjective childbirth experience is a risk factor for postpartum depression and childbirth-related posttraumatic stress symptoms. Subjective childbirth experience is influenced not only by characteristics of the childbirth itself but also by maternal characteristics. A maternal characteristic that may be associated with a more positive childbirth experience is trait mindfulness. The current study aimed to assess this association and to assess whether trait mindfulness during pregnancy had a moderating role in the possible association between non-spontaneous delivery and perception of childbirth. A subsample of 486 women, participating in a longitudinal prospective cohort study (Holistic Approach to Pregnancy and the first Postpartum Year study), completed the Three Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire-Short Form at 22 weeks of pregnancy. Women completed the Childbirth Perception Scale and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale between 7 and 21 days postpartum. The mindfulness facets acting with awareness and non-reacting were significantly associated with a more positive perception of childbirth, after adjusting for covariates. Moderation analyses showed a significant interaction between acting with awareness and non-spontaneous delivery and non-judging and non-spontaneous delivery. Non-spontaneous delivery was associated with a more negative perception of childbirth for low/medium scores of acting with awareness and non-judging, but not for high scores on these mindfulness facets. Trait mindfulness during pregnancy may enhance a positive perception of childbirth. Because this is among the first studies examining the association between maternal dispositional mindfulness and perception of childbirth, future research is needed to confirm the results of the current study.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7979659/

 

Reduce Insomnia and Rumination in Pregnant Women with Mindfulness

Reduce Insomnia and Rumination in Pregnant Women with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“practicing mindfulness during the day, ideally for 20 minutes, . . The idea is to create a reflex to more easily bring forth a sense of relaxation. That way, it’s easier to evoke the relaxation response at night when you can’t sleep.” – Herbert Benson

 

Pregnancy is a time of intense physiological and psychological change. Anxiety, depression, and insomnia are quite common during pregnancy. More than 20 percent of pregnant women have an anxiety disorder, depressive symptoms, or both during pregnancy. Sleep disturbance including insomnia is also common affecting around 75% of pregnant women. The psychological health of pregnant women has consequences for fetal development, birthing, and consequently, child outcomes. Depression during pregnancy is associated with premature delivery and low birth weight. Insomnia has been linked to an increased risk of giving birth to a baby that’s too large or too small for its age, longer labor, and higher likelihood of a cesarean section.

 

Hence, it is clear that there is a need for methods to treat depression, anxiety, and insomnia during pregnancy. Since the fetus can be negatively impacted by drugs, it would be preferable to find a treatment that did not require drugs. Mindfulness training has been shown to improve anxiety, depression, and sleep normally and to relieve maternal anxiety and depression during pregnancy. In addition, mindfulness is known to reduce worry and rumination which can also lead to restlessness and sleep disturbance. So, it would make sense to study the relationship of mindfulness during the pregnancy to depression, rumination, and insomnia.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness and nocturnal rumination are independently associated with symptoms of insomnia and depression during pregnancy.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7190270/ )  Kalmbach and colleagues recruited pregnant women in their third trimester and had them complete measures of mindfulness, rumination, insomnia, and depression. These data were subjected to multivariate linear regression analysis.

 

They found that women who were high in mindfulness had significantly lower levels of rumination, insomnia, and depression. Women who were high in rumination had significantly lower levels of mindfulness and higher levels of insomnia, and depression. Employing multivariate modelling they found that mindfulness and rumination separately and independently were related to insomnia and that mindfulness and rumination separately and independently were related to depression.

 

These results were correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But previous research has demonstrated that mindfulness training reduces rumination, insomnia, and depression. So, the relationships observed here are likely due to causal relationships among the variables. It appears that mindfulness and rumination work in opposite directions. Mindfulness helps pregnant women sleep better and helps relieve depression while rumination does the opposite of interfering with sleep and increasing depression.

 

Interestingly, mindfulness and rumination affect sleep and depression independently but are negatively related such that mindfulness decreases rumination while rumination lowers mindfulness. Mindfulness is an asset to pregnant women while worry produces problems. This suggests that pregnant women should be trained in mindfulness and also trained to reduce worry. Both of these goals can be accomplished with Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Future research should investigate this possibility.

 

So, reduce insomnia and rumination in pregnant women with mindfulness.

 

It seems important to develop mindfulness to improve sleep in pregnancy or reduce the impact of insomnia symptoms (common at pregnancy).” – M. Marques

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Kalmbach, D. A., Roth, T., Cheng, P., Ong, J. C., Rosenbaum, E., & Drake, C. L. (2020). Mindfulness and nocturnal rumination are independently associated with symptoms of insomnia and depression during pregnancy. Sleep health, 6(2), 185–191. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleh.2019.11.011

 

Abstract

Background:

Insomnia and depression are highly prevalent perinatal complications. Ruminating on stress is etiologically implicated in both disorders, and ruminating while trying to fall asleep has been linked to insomnia and depression during pregnancy. Incompatible with rumination is everyday mindfulness, i.e., living with intentional and nonjudgmental awareness of internal and external experiences in the present moment. Responding to stress mindfully may protect against stress-related perinatal complications such as insomnia and depression. The present study described the association between everyday mindfulness and nocturnal rumination, and examined whether these trait characteristics were independently related to perinatal insomnia and depression.

Methods:

Cross-sectional and secondary analysis of existing data from 65 pregnant women recruited from a multisite hospital in Metro Detroit, MI, USA. Subjects completed online surveys including the Insomnia Severity Index, Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, Presleep Arousal Scale, and the revised Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale.

Results:

Over half (53.8%) of women screened positive for clinical insomnia and 12.3% screened positive for major depression. Women high in mindfulness, relative to those low in mindfulness, reported less nocturnal rumination (Cohen’s d=1.16), insomnia symptoms (Cohen’s d=1.24), and depressive symptoms (Cohen’s d=1.35). Multivariate linear regression revealed that both mindfulness (β=−.24, p=.03) and rumination (β=.38, p<.01) were independently associated with insomnia. Similarly, a multivariate model showed that mindfulness (β=−.41, p<.001) and rumination (β=.35, p<.01) were independently associated with depression.

Conclusions:

Ruminating in bed at night is strongly associated with insomnia and depression during pregnancy, whereas mindfulness may potentially protect against these stress-related perinatal complications.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7190270/

 

Relieve Maternal Perinatal Depression with Smartphone-Based Mindfulness Training

Relieve Maternal Perinatal Depression with Smartphone-Based Mindfulness Training

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“the ideal treatment plan for perinatal depression and anxiety often includes mindfulness techniques.” – Edith Gettes

 

The period of pregnancy is a time of intense physiological and psychological change. Anxiety, depression, and fear are quite common during pregnancy. More than 20 percent of pregnant women have an anxiety disorder, depressive symptoms, or both during pregnancy. The psychological health of pregnant women has consequences for fetal development, birthing, and consequently, child outcomes. Depression during pregnancy is associated with premature delivery and low birth weight.

 

In addition, immediately after birth it is common for the mother to experience mood swings including what has been termed “baby blues,” a sadness that may last for as much as a couple of weeks. But some women experience a more intense and long-lasting negative mood called postpartum depression. This occurs usually 4-6 weeks after birth in about 15% of births; about 600,000 women in the U.S. every year. For 50% of the women the depression lasts for about a year while about 30% are still depressed 3 years later.

 

Hence, it is clear that there is a need for methods to treat depression, and anxiety during the perinatal period. Since the fetus can be negatively impacted by drugs, it would be preferable to find a treatment that did not require drugs. Mindfulness training has been shown to improve anxiety and depression normally and to relieve maternal anxiety and depression during pregnancy and to relieve postpartum depression.

 

The vast majority of the mindfulness training techniques, however, require a trained teacher. The participants must be available to attend multiple sessions at particular scheduled times that may or may not be compatible with busy employee schedules and at locations that may not be convenient. As an alternative, apps for smartphones have been developed. These have tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. But the question arises as to the effectiveness of these apps and their ability to relieve depression during the perinatal period.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effectiveness of Smartphone-Based Mindfulness Training on Maternal Perinatal Depression: Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7875700/ ) Sun and colleagues recruited pregnant women who were diagnosed with depression and randomly assigned them to receive 8-weeks of either health consultation or mindfulness training. Mindfulness training occurred in 8 weekly sessions delivered on a smartphone app. The training was Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) modified for pregnant women. Health consultation also occurred via smartphone app. They were measured before during, and after training, 10 weeks later, and 6-months after delivery for depression, anxiety symptoms, perceived stress, positive and negative emotions, sleep-related problems, fatigue, memory, and fear of childbirth. There was a 52% completion rate for the trainings.

 

They found that after training the mindfulness group had significantly lower levels of depression and anxiety and significantly higher levels of positive emotions but these were not maintained 6 months after delivery. The mindfulness group also had a significantly higher rate of depression symptom remission. Hence the smartphone-based mindfulness training improved the psychological health of the pregnant women.

 

These findings replicate previous findings that mindfulness training reduces anxiety and depression in non-pregnant individuals and relieves maternal anxiety and depression during pregnancy. The strength of the current study was that these effects were produced by mindfulness training with a smartphone app. This is important as this training is highly scalable at minimal cost and so can be made available to virtually all pregnant women who want it. Hence, it may be able to reduce the psychological misery that occurs in many women during the perinatal period, making pregnancy a happier time for the women and produce better outcoms for the infant.

 

So, relieve maternal perinatal depression with smartphone-based mindfulness training.

 

the risk of having moderate depressive symptoms was reduced by nearly 90% in participants receiving the MMT [Mindfulness] intervention.” – Ruta Nonacs

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Sun, Y., Li, Y., Wang, J., Chen, Q., Bazzano, A. N., & Cao, F. (2021). Effectiveness of Smartphone-Based Mindfulness Training on Maternal Perinatal Depression: Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of medical Internet research, 23(1), e23410. https://doi.org/10.2196/23410

 

Abstract

Background

Despite potential for benefit, mindfulness remains an emergent area in perinatal mental health care, and evidence of smartphone-based mindfulness training for perinatal depression is especially limited.

Objective

The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a smartphone-based mindfulness training intervention during pregnancy on perinatal depression and other mental health problems with a randomized controlled design.

Methods

Pregnant adult women who were potentially at risk of perinatal depression were recruited from an obstetrics clinic and randomized to a self-guided 8-week smartphone-based mindfulness training during pregnancy group or attention control group. Mental health indicators were surveyed over five time points through the postpartum period by online self-assessment. The assessor who collected the follow-up data was blind to the assignment. The primary outcome was depression as measured by symptoms, and secondary outcomes were anxiety, stress, affect, sleep, fatigue, memory, and fear.

Results

A total of 168 participants were randomly allocated to the mindfulness training (n=84) or attention control (n=84) group. The overall dropout rate was 34.5%, and 52.4% of the participants completed the intervention. Mindfulness training participants reported significant improvement of depression (group × time interaction χ24=16.2, P=.003) and secondary outcomes (χ24=13.1, P=.01 for anxiety; χ24=8.4, P=.04 for positive affect) compared to attention control group participants. Medium between-group effect sizes were found on depression and positive affect at postintervention, and on anxiety in late pregnancy (Cohen d=0.47, –0.49, and 0.46, respectively). Mindfulness training participants reported a decreased risk of positive depressive symptom (Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale [EPDS] score>9) compared to attention control participants postintervention (odds ratio [OR] 0.391, 95% CI 0.164-0.930) and significantly higher depression symptom remission with different EPDS reduction scores from preintervention to postintervention (OR 3.471-27.986). Parity did not show a significant moderating effect; however, for nulliparous women, mindfulness training participants had significantly improved depression symptoms compared to nulliparous attention control group participants (group × time interaction χ24=18.1, P=.001).

Conclusions

Smartphone-based mindfulness training is an effective intervention in improving maternal perinatal depression for those who are potentially at risk of perinatal depression in early pregnancy. Nulliparous women are a promising subgroup who may benefit more from mindfulness training.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7875700/

Improve Perinatal Mental Health with Prenatal Mindfulness Training

Improve Perinatal Mental Health with Prenatal Mindfulness Training

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

In addition to support, therapy, and medication, the ideal treatment plan for perinatal depression and anxiety often includes mindfulness techniques.” – Edith Gettes

 

The period of pregnancy is a time of intense physiological and psychological change. Anxiety, depression, and fear are quite common during pregnancy. More than 20 percent of pregnant women have an anxiety disorder, depressive symptoms, or both during pregnancy. A debilitating childbirth fear has been estimated to affect about 6% or pregnant women and 13% are sufficiently afraid to postpone pregnancy. It is difficult to deal with these emotions under the best of conditions but in combinations with the stresses of pregnancy can turn what could be a joyous experience of creating a human life into a horrible worrisome, torment.

 

The psychological health of pregnant women has consequences for fetal development, birthing, and consequently, child outcomes. Depression during pregnancy is associated with premature delivery and low birth weight. Hence, it is clear that there is a need for methods to treat depression, and anxiety during pregnancy. Since the fetus can be negatively impacted by drugs, it would be preferable to find a treatment that did not require drugs. Mindfulness training has been shown to improve anxiety and depression normally and to relieve maternal anxiety and depression during pregnancy.

 

The birth of a child is most often a joyous occasion. But often the joy turns to misery. Immediately after birth it is common for the mother to experience mood swings including what has been termed “baby blues,” a sadness that may last for as much as a couple of weeks. But some women experience a more intense and long-lasting negative mood called postpartum depression. This occurs usually 4-6 weeks after birth in about 15% of births; about 600,000 women in the U.S. every year. For 50% of the women the depression lasts for about a year while about 30% are still depressed 3 years later. It is not known if the effectiveness of mindfulness training during the perinatal period carries over to the postpartum period. So, it would make sense to study the effectiveness of mindfulness training administered during the perinatal period on postpartum mental health issues.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of prenatal mindfulness-based childbirth education on child-bearers’ trajectories of distress: a randomized control trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7559171/ ) Sbrilli  and colleagues recruited pregnant women in their 3rd trimester with their first child and randomly assigned them to either no treatment other than the standard childbirth education program or to receive and additional intensive 2.5 day program of mindfulness training termed “Mind in Labor (MIL).” The training integrates mindfulness “strategies for coping with pain and fear with formal mindfulness meditation for a total of 18 h of mindfulness training.” The participants were measured before and after training, 6 weeks after giving birth, and 1 to 2 years later for depression, anxiety, perceived stress, and mindfulness.

 

They found that at baseline the higher the levels of mindfulness, the lower the levels of anxiety, depression, and perceived stress. Importantly, they found that while the treatment as usual group had increasing depression over the period from before birth till 12 months after birth, the groups that received the mindfulness training had significantly decreasing depression over the same period. They further found that these effects were greater in women who were either high in anxiety or low in mindfulness at baseline.

 

These are encouraging results that need to be investigated in a larger trial. But they demonstrate that mindfulness training during the 3rd trimester can reduce depression not only during the pregnancy but also for at least a year following the birth of the child. This period and especially the postpartum period are very often periods of increased psychological distress, especially depression. Mindfulness training appears to be an antidote, relieving the distress and allowing for the joy of a new child to be fully experienced.

 

So, improve perinatal mental health with prenatal mindfulness training.

 

A growing body of research suggests that mindfulness-based therapy can benefit perinatal women. . . MBT appears to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.” – Rinette Badker

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Sbrilli, M. D., Duncan, L. G., & Laurent, H. K. (2020). Effects of prenatal mindfulness-based childbirth education on child-bearers’ trajectories of distress: a randomized control trial. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 20, 623. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-020-03318-8

 

Abstract

Background

The perinatal period is a time of immense change, which can be a period of stress and vulnerability for mental health difficulties. Mindfulness-based interventions have shown promise for reducing distress, but further research is needed to identify long-term effects and moderators of mindfulness training in the perinatal period.

Methods

The current study used data from a pilot randomized control trial (RCT) comparing a condensed mindfulness-based childbirth preparation program—the Mind in Labor (MIL)—to treatment as usual (TAU) to examine whether prenatal mindfulness training results in lower distress across the perinatal period, and whether the degree of benefit depends on child-bearers’ initial levels of risk (i.e., depression and anxiety symptoms) and protective (i.e., mindfulness) characteristics. Child-bearers (N = 30) in their third trimester were randomized to MIL or TAU and completed assessments of distress—perceived stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms—at pre-intervention, post-intervention, six-weeks post-birth, and one-year postpartum.

Results

Multilevel modeling of distress trajectories revealed greater decreases from pre-intervention to 12-months postpartum for those in MIL compared to TAU, especially among child-bearers who were higher in anxiety and/or lower in dispositional mindfulness at baseline.

Conclusions

The current study offers preliminary evidence for durable perinatal mental health benefits following a brief mindfulness-based program and suggests further investigation of these effects in larger samples is warranted.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7559171/

 

Reduce Depression After Stillbirth with Yoga

Reduce Depression After Stillbirth with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Bereaved mothers with stillbirth (death at >20 weeks of gestation) have more than a 6-fold higher risk for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) compared to mothers after live birth. . . . Non-pharmacological approaches, such as yoga, may be an alternative option for bereaved women with stillbirth.” – Jennifer Huberty

 

Experiencing trauma is quite common. It has been estimated that 60% of men and 50% of women will experience a significant traumatic event during their lifetime with 7%-8% of the population developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It involves a number of troubling symptoms including reliving the event with the same fear and horror in nightmares or with a flashback.

 

Having a stillbirth is a traumatic event for young women. It inevitably produces profound depression, grief, and symptoms of PTSD. Obviously, this is a troubling problem that needs to be addressed. There are a number of therapies that have been developed to treat depression, grief and  PTSD. One of which, mindfulness training has been found to be particularly effective for depression, PTSD symptoms, and grief.  Yoga practice has also been found to reduce depression and PTSD symptoms. There is, however, no studies to date on the effectiveness of yoga practice to help alleviate the trauma produced by stillbirth.

 

In today’s Research News article “Online yoga to reduce post traumatic stress in women who have experienced stillbirth: a randomized control feasibility trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7275350/) Huberty and colleagues recruited women who had experienced stillbirth within the last 2 years and randomly assigned them to receive 12 weeks of either low dose Hatha yoga (60 minutes per week), moderate dose Hatha yoga (150 minutes per week), or stretching and toning practice (60 minutes per week). All practice was led by online videos. They were measured before and after training and 8 weeks later for acceptability and demand for the program, PTSD symptoms, anxiety, depression, grief, self-compassion, emotion regulation, mindfulness, and sleep quality.

 

They found that PTSD symptoms decreased significantly over the measurement period with a 43% and 56% decrease for the low and moderate yoga groups and a 22% decrease for the stretching and toning group. But there were no significant differences between groups. On the other hand, in comparison to the stretching and toning group, both of the yoga groups had significant decreases in depression and grief. Unfortunately, the low dose yoga group only practiced on the average for 44 minutes per week and the high dose yoga only practiced for 77 minutes per week. This was well below the desired amount of practice.

 

The lack of a significant difference between the yoga and control groups was disappointing. Previous research has demonstrated that yoga practice reduces PTSD symptoms. It is possible that attempting to teach yoga remotely, online, to participants who are depressed simply may not be an effective way to encourage practice. Depressed patients lack motivation and it is possible that they need the encouragement of a group and an instructor to motivate their participation. Future research should employ traditional in person yoga classes for the treatment of women who had stillbirths.

 

Nevertheless, the yoga practice, even though it was below the dose desired, did significantly reduce depression. This corroborates previous findings that yoga practice is effective in treating a variety of forms of depression and suggests that it is also effective in treating depression emanating from stillbirth. Perhaps in person yoga classes may potentiate the effects on PTSD and other symptoms in women who had stillbirths.

 

So, reduce depression after stillbirth with yoga.

 

“a trauma-focused hatha yoga program may be a helpful adjunctive treatment for chronic PTSD.” – Sarah Krill Williston

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Huberty, J., Sullivan, M., Green, J., Kurka, J., Leiferman, J., Gold, K., & Cacciatore, J. (2020). Online yoga to reduce post traumatic stress in women who have experienced stillbirth: a randomized control feasibility trial. BMC complementary medicine and therapies, 20(1), 173. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-020-02926-3

 

Abstract

Background

About 1 in every 150 pregnancies end in stillbirth. Consequences include symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety. Yoga has been used to treat PTSD in other populations and may improve health outcomes for stillbirth mothers. The purpose of this study was to determine: (a) feasibility of a 12-week home-based, online yoga intervention with varying doses; (b) acceptability of a “stretch and tone” control group; and (c) preliminary efficacy of the intervention on reducing symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, depression, perinatal grief, self-compassion, emotional regulation, mindfulness, sleep quality, and subjective health.

Methods

Participants (N = 90) were recruited nationally and randomized into one of three groups for yoga or exercise (low dose (LD), 60 min per week; moderate dose (MD), 150 min per week; and stretch-and-tone control group (STC)). Baseline and post-intervention surveys measured main outcomes (listed above). Frequency analyses were used to determine feasibility. Repeated measures ANCOVA were used to determine preliminary efficacy. Multiple regression analyses were used to determine a dose-response relationship between minutes of yoga and each outcome variable.

Results

Over half of participants completed the intervention (n = 48/90). Benchmarks (≥70% reported > 75% satisfaction) were met in each group for satisfaction and enjoyment. Participants meeting benchmarks (completing > 90% of prescribed minutes 9/12 weeks) for LD and MD groups were 44% (n = 8/18) and 6% (n = 1/16), respectively. LD and MD groups averaged 44.0 and 77.3 min per week of yoga, respectively. The MD group reported that 150 prescribed minutes per week of yoga was too much. There were significant decreases in PTSD and depression, and improvements in self-rated health at post-intervention for both intervention groups. There was a significant difference in depression scores (p = .036) and grief intensity (p = .009) between the MD and STC groups. PTSD showed non-significant decreases of 43% and 56% at post-intervention in LD and MD groups, respectively (22% decrease in control).

Conclusions

This was the first study to determine the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of an online yoga intervention for women after stillbirth. Future research warrants a randomized controlled trial.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7275350/

 

Improve Fertility with Mindfulness

 

Improve Fertility with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

those who participate in a mind-body wellness program are 32% more likely to become pregnant!” – Michelle Anne

 

Infertility is primarily a medical condition due to physiological problems. It is quite common. It is estimated that in the U.S. 6.7 million women, about 10% of the population of women are infertile. Infertility can be more than just a medical issue. It can be an emotional crisis for many couples, especially for the women. Couples attending a fertility clinic reported that infertility was the most upsetting experience of their lives. Women with infertility reported feeling as anxious or depressed as those diagnosed with cancer, hypertension, or recovering from a heart attack.

 

Mindfulness training been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and its recurrence and even in the cases where drugs fail. This is especially true for Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) which was specifically developed to treat depression. MBCT has been shown to be effective in treating infertility. At this point it’s useful to step back and summarize what has been learned about mindfulness training and infertility.

 

In today’s Research News article “Application of Mindfulness-Based Psychological Interventions in Infertility.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7295259/), Patel and colleagues review and summarize the published scientific research of the effectiveness of mindfulness training in treating infertility. They identified 9 published research studies.

 

They report that the research found that mindfulness training decreases anxiety, depression, stress, and anger, and increases well-being and quality of life of infertile women. These enhance the self-efficacy of women coping with infertility. Mindfulness training also has been found to reduce emotional stress and stress hormones and improve sleep and immune function all of which are known to play an important role in infertility. These all lead to increased conception rates.

 

The psychological and emotional issues that result from infertility produce a negative spiral, where infertility increases emotional dysfunction, which in turn lessens the likelihood of conception, which increases emotionality and so on. Mindfulness training appears to interrupt this cycle by improving the psychological and physical well-being of infertile women. This allows the women to relax and better cope with the issues surrounding infertility. This in turn improves their likelihood of conception. Hence, mindfulness training should be recommended for infertile women.

 

So, improve fertility with mindfulness.

 

mindfulness becomes the perfect antidote for the paradoxical land mines infertility presents. Mindfulness starts from the perspective that you are whole and complete already, regardless of flaws or imperfections. It is based on the concept of original goodness: your essential nature is good and pure. Proceeding from this vantage point gives you freedom from the bondage of inadequacy and insecurity.” – Janetti Marotta

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Patel, A., Sharma, P., & Kumar, P. (2020). Application of Mindfulness-Based Psychological Interventions in Infertility. Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences, 13(1), 3–21. https://doi.org/10.4103/jhrs.JHRS_51_19

 

Abstract

Living mindfully helps one gain a deeper understanding into realities of life. It enables people to witness suffering, desire, attachments, and impermanence without any fear, anxiety, anger, or despair. This is considered the hallmark of true psychological insight. As a skill, mindfulness can be inculcated by anyone. Mindfulness helps in attending, getting aware and understanding experiences in a compassion and open-minded way. Research suggests that applying mindfulness in daily life has been known to tame our emotional mind and enabled people to perceive things “as they are” without ascribing expectations, judgments, cynicism, or apprehensions to them. This review unravels the therapeutic power of mindfulness meditation in the context of infertility distress. It serves to integrate the evidence on the effectiveness of mindfulness-based psychological interventions to improve the emotional well-being and biological outcomes in Infertility.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7295259/

 

Reduce Anxiety and Improve Self-Efficacy in Pregnancy with Mindfulness

Reduce Anxiety and Improve Self-Efficacy in Pregnancy with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindfulness practices during pregnancy has several benefits: better manage chronic pain, depression, and anxiety, reduce fears about childbirth, reduce fears surrounding your pregnancy and parenting, increase confidence for birth and parenting, reduce perception of pain in birth.” – Cara Terreri

 

The period of pregnancy is a time of intense physiological and psychological change. Anxiety, depression, and fear are quite common during pregnancy. More than 20 percent of pregnant women have an anxiety disorder, depressive symptoms, or both during pregnancy. A debilitating childbirth fear has been estimated to affect about 6% or pregnant women and 13% are sufficiently afraid to postpone pregnancy. It is difficult to deal with these emotions under the best of conditions but in combinations with the stresses of pregnancy can turn what could be a joyous experience of creating a human life into a horrible worrisome, torment.

 

It is clear that there is a need for methods to treat depression, and anxiety during pregnancy. Since the fetus can be negatively impacted by drugs, it would be preferable to find a treatment that did not require drugs. Mindfulness training has been shown to improve anxiety and depression normally and to relieve maternal anxiety and depression during pregnancy.

 

In today’s Research News article “The effect of mindfulness-based stress reduction on maternal anxiety and self-efficacy: A randomized controlled trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7177577/), Zarenejad and colleagues recruited women pregnant with their first child between 24 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. They were randomly assigned to either usual care or to receive 6 weeks of twice a week for 1-hour group mindfulness training based upon the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. The training employs meditation, body scan, yoga, discussions, and home practice. They were measured before and after training and 1 month later for mindfulness, pregnancy related anxiety, and self-efficacy.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the usual care group, the women who received mindfulness training had significant increases in mindfulness and significant decreases in pregnancy related anxiety immediately after training and one month after training where there was also a significant increase in self-eficacy..

 

Mindfulness training has been repeatedly demonstrated in prior research to decrease anxiety and increase self-efficacy in a wide range of healthy and ill populations. The present study demonstrates that this training has similar effects with late-term pregnant women in Iran. The increase in self-efficacy suggests that mindfulness training improves the women’s beliefs that they can deal with their situation and the reduction in anxiety suggests that they can approach delivery with greater levels of confidence and relaxation. This should reduce the stress of delivery and increase the likelihood of a satisfactory and health outcome.

 

So, reduce anxiety and improve self-efficacy in pregnancy with mindfulness.

 

By learning mindfulness skills as part of their childbirth education, expectant mothers can reappraise the impending birth as something they can handle instead of viewing it as something they fear,”- Larissa Duncan

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Zarenejad, M., Yazdkhasti, M., Rahimzadeh, M., Mehdizadeh Tourzani, Z., & Esmaelzadeh-Saeieh, S. (2020). The effect of mindfulness-based stress reduction on maternal anxiety and self-efficacy: A randomized controlled trial. Brain and behavior, 10(4), e01561. https://doi.org/10.1002/brb3.1561

 

Abstract

Objective

The aim of the study was to assess the effect of mindfulness‐based stress reduction (MBSR) on anxiety and self‐efficacy in coping with childbirth.

Material and Methods

This randomized controlled trial was conducted on 70 pregnant women in Abyek city of Qazvin province in Iran. The convenient sampling method was recruited. Samples were assigned to control and intervention groups using random blocks. In addition to routine care, individuals in the intervention group received 6 MBSR training sessions. The data gathering questionnaire in this study included mindfulness, Pregnancy‐Related Anxiety Questionnaire, and self‐efficacy in coping with childbirth questionnaire.

Results

There was no statistically significant difference between the demographic characteristics in the control and intervention groups. The results of the analysis of variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures indicated the effect of time on the change in the total score of anxiety in the intervention group (p = .001). There was a significant difference between the two groups (p = .001). Also, the results of ANOVA with repeated measures showed that time had no impact on the score of self‐efficacy in delivery coping (p = 0/1) and that there was no significant difference between the two groups in this respect (p = .6).

Conclusion

The result of this study showed that mindfulness reduces anxiety of pregnant mothers, and it is suggested that mindfulness programs be educated for healthcare providers and pregnant mothers to reduce maternal anxiety and improve pregnancy outcomes and delivery.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7177577/

 

Improve Depression During the Perinatal Period with Mindfulness

Improve Depression During the Perinatal Period with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Pregnancy is a challenging terrain for everyone to navigate. And if you are entering that space with some history of depression, it can be particularly challenging.” – Sona Dimidjian

 

The period of pregnancy is a time of intense physiological and psychological change. Anxiety, depression, and fear are quite common during pregnancy. More than 20 percent of pregnant women have an anxiety disorder, depressive symptoms, or both during pregnancy. A debilitating childbirth fear has been estimated to affect about 6% or pregnant women and 13% are sufficiently afraid to postpone pregnancy. It is difficult to deal with these emotions under the best of conditions but in combinations with the stresses of pregnancy can turn what could be a joyous experience of creating a human life into a horrible worrisome, torment.

 

The psychological health of pregnant women has consequences for fetal development, birthing, and consequently, child outcomes. Depression during pregnancy is associated with premature delivery and low birth weight. Hence, it is clear that there is a need for methods to treat depression, and anxiety during pregnancy. Since the fetus can be negatively impacted by drugs, it would be preferable to find a treatment that did not require drugs. Mindfulness training has been shown to improve anxiety and depression normally and to relieve maternal anxiety and depression during pregnancy.

 

Mindfulness practices have been found to help with coping with loss and its consequent grief.  Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) was specifically developed to treat depression. MBCT involves mindfulness training, containing sitting, walking and body scan meditations, and cognitive therapy That is designed to alter how the patient relates to the thought processes that often underlie and exacerbate psychological symptoms.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Perinatal Women with Depression or Bipolar Spectrum Disorder.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7021274/), Miklowitz and colleagues recruited women with major depressive or bipolar disorders who were either pregnant, within 1 year postpartum, or trying to get pregnant. They were provided with weekly 2-hour sessions for 8 weeks of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). They were measured before and after treatment and at 1 and 6 months later for psychological symptom severity, reoccurrence of major depression, mindfulness, and acceptability of treatment.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline, after Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) there were significant reduction in depression and increases in mindfulness. The women on average moved from mildly to minimally depressed categories. These improvements were maintained 1 and 6 months later. The women who had major depressive disorder had significantly greater improvements in depression than the women with bipolar disorder.

 

These results suggest that Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is an effective treatment for depression in perinatal women with lasting benefits. This should help relieve the women’s suffering and help them to be better mothers to their children. MBCT has been shown to be effective for a wide variety of patients with depression. The present study increases the types of depression that are known to respond positively to MBCT.

 

So, improve depression during the perinatal period with mindfulness.

 

“mindfulness training could help improve mothers’ experience of labor and reduce the likelihood of postpartum depression.” – Jenn Knudsen

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Miklowitz, D. J., Semple, R. J., Hauser, M., Elkun, D., Weintraub, M. J., & Dimidjian, S. (2015). Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Perinatal Women with Depression or Bipolar Spectrum Disorder. Cognitive therapy and research, 39(5), 590–600. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-015-9681-9

 

Abstract

The perinatal period is a high-risk time for mood deterioration among women vulnerable to depression. This study examined feasibility, acceptability, and improvement associated with mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) in perinatal women with major depressive disorder (MDD) or bipolar spectrum disorder (BSD). Following a diagnostic evaluation, 39 perinatal women with a lifetime history of MDD (n = 27) or BSD (n = 12) enrolled in an 8-week program of MBCT classes (2 h each) that incorporated meditation, yoga, and mood regulation strategies. Participants were pregnant (n = 12), planning pregnancy (n = 11), or up to 1-year postpartum (n = 16). Participants were self-referred and most had subthreshold mood symptoms. Assessments of depression, (hypo)mania, and anxiety were obtained by interview and self-report at baseline, post-treatment and at 1- and 6-month post-treatment. Women with a history of MDD were more likely to complete the classes than women with BSD. Of 32 women who completed the classes, 7 (21.9 %) had a major depressive episode during the 6-month post-treatment follow-up. On average, participants with MDD reported improvements in depression from pre- to post-treatment. Mood improvement was not observed in the BSD group. In the full sample, improvements in depression symptoms across time points were associated with increasing mindful tendency scores. This study was limited by its uncontrolled design, heterogeneous sample, and questionnaire-based assessment of mindfulness skills. MBCT may be an important component of care for perinatal women with histories of major depression. Its applicability to perinatal women with BSD is unclear.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7021274/

 

Improve the Psychological and Physical Health of Pregnant Low-Income Women with Mindfulness

Improve the Psychological and Physical Health of Pregnant Low-Income Women with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

in pregnant women at high risk for excessive weight gain, it is both feasible and effective to use mindfulness strategies taught in a group format. Further, increases in certain mindfulness skills may help with better management of stress and overeating during pregnancy.” – Thomas Vieten

 

The period of pregnancy is a time of intense physiological and psychological change. Anxiety, depression, and fear are quite common during pregnancy. Pregnancy produces vast changes in the woman’s life, her body, her emotions, and her family. These changes may well be desired and welcomed, but they produce stress. Indeed, stress is a common experience in pregnancy. But it must be controlled. Too much stress can produce sleeping problems, headaches, loss of appetite or its opposite, overeating. If the levels of stress are high and prolonged it can produce health problems such as hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart disease in the mother. It can also make it more likely that the baby will be born prematurely or with a low birthweight, both of which are indicators of health problems for the infant and in the later child’s life. These stresses are magnified in low-income women.

 

So, it is important to either control stress during pregnancy or find ways to better cope with it. Mindfulness training has been shown to reduce the individual’s psychological and physiological responses to stress. Hence, mindfulness training may be a safe and effective method to assist the pregnant woman in coping with the stresses of pregnancy. Low-income women are particularly vulnerable to these stresses and have a high rate of rapid weight gain and metabolic syndrome during pregnancy. Indeed, mindfulness training appears to be effective in improving the mental and physical health of low-income individuals. Hence, it is important to study if mindfulness training can improve the health of low-income women.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Distress, Weight Gain, and Glucose Control for Pregnant Low-Income Women: A Quasi-Experimental Trial Using the ORBIT Model.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6785577/), Epel and colleagues recruited low-income overweight and obese, pregnant women who were in their12th to 19th week of gestation. They were provided with a 2 hour once a week for 8 weeks program of a Mindful Moms training program. This included mindful movements and mindfulness practices and discussions of stress reduction, mindful eating, and nutrition. They were compared to a comparable group who simply continued with their usual treatments. They were measured for gestational weight gain, postpartum weight retention, and before and after the intervention for physical activity perceived stress, depression, pregnancy related anxiety, acceptance of negative experiences, eating behaviors, eating addiction, and mindfulness. They also received a glucose tolerance test.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline the group that received mindfulness training had significant reductions in perceived stress, depression, food addiction, emotional eating, external eating and significant increases in acceptance of negative experiences, glucose tolerance, and physical activity. Both groups gained excessive weight during pregnancy and retained it postpartum with no significant differences.

 

Conclusions must be tempered with the knowledge that the women were not randomly assigned to intervention and control conditions, rather they were assigned based upon whether their schedules allowed participation in the mindfulness training classes. Hence, there may have been systematic differences between the groups at the outset.

 

Nevertheless, the results are both disappointing and encouraging. They were disappointing in that the intervention did not alter the high weight gains during pregnancy or their retention postpartum even though there were improvements in their eating behaviors, physical activity, and glucose tolerance. These women were overweight and obese at the beginning, so the excess weight gains are unwanted and may further damage their health and that of their offspring.

 

The results, however, are encouraging in that they suggest that mindfulness training may improve the psychological and physical health of these women. Having low-income provides additional difficulty and stress on these pregnant women. So, the ability of mindfulness training to reduce the stress and improve their psychological health is welcome. The improvements in physical activity and glucose tolerance may signal improvements in the overall metabolic health of these women. Follow ups of these women need to be pursued to determine if there were significant impacts of the training on the infants and their development.

 

So, improve the psychological and physical health of pregnant low-income women with mindfulness.

 

women in the mindfulness group had lower stress levels, higher mindfulness measures, and lower weight gains during pregnancy.” Elissa Epel

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Epel, E., Laraia, B., Coleman-Phox, K., Leung, C., Vieten, C., Mellin, L., … Adler, N. (2019). Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Distress, Weight Gain, and Glucose Control for Pregnant Low-Income Women: A Quasi-Experimental Trial Using the ORBIT Model. International journal of behavioral medicine, 26(5), 461–473. doi:10.1007/s12529-019-09779-2

 

Abstract

Background

Stress can lead to excessive weight gain. Mindfulness-based stress reduction that incorporates mindful eating shows promise for reducing stress, overeating, and improving glucose control. No interventions have tested mindfulness training with a focus on healthy eating and weight gain during pregnancy, a period of common excessive weight gain. Here, we test the effectiveness of such an intervention, the Mindful Moms Training (MMT), on perceived stress, eating behaviors, and gestational weight gain in a high-risk sample of low income women with overweight/obesity.

Method

We conducted a quasi-experimental study assigning 115 pregnant women to MMT for 8 weeks and comparing them to 105 sociodemographically and weight equivalent pregnant women receiving treatment as usual. Our main outcomes included weight gain (primary outcome), perceived stress, and depression.

Results

Women in MMT showed significant reductions in perceived stress (β = − 0.16) and depressive symptoms (β = − 0.21) compared to the treatment as usual (TAU) control group. Consistent with national norms, the majority of women (68%) gained excessive weight according to Institute of Medicine weight-gain categories, regardless of group. Slightly more women in the MMT group gained below the recommendation. Among secondary outcomes, women in MMT reported increased physical activity (β = 0.26) and had lower glucose post-oral glucose tolerance test (β = − 0.23), being 66% less likely to have impaired glucose tolerance, compared to the TAU group.

Conclusion

A short-term intervention led to significant improvements in stress, and showed promise for preventing glucose intolerance. However, the majority of women gained excessive weight. A longer more intensive intervention may be needed for this high-risk population.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6785577/

 

Better Mental Health During Pregnancy is Associated with Mindfulness

Better Mental Health During Pregnancy is Associated with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness is a seriously beneficial practice during pregnancy, too? Simply tuning in and being aware can be a powerful tool to lessen stress, calm anxiety, and help you feel more connected during those long nine months.” – Carrie Murphy

 

The period of pregnancy is a time of intense physiological and psychological change. Anxiety, depression, and fear are quite common during pregnancy. More than 20 percent of pregnant women have an anxiety disorder, depressive symptoms, or both during pregnancy. A debilitating childbirth fear has been estimated to affect about 6% or pregnant women and 13% are sufficiently afraid to postpone pregnancy. It is difficult to deal with these emotions under the best of conditions but in combinations with the stresses of pregnancy can turn what could be a joyous experience of creating a human life into a horrible worrisome, torment.

 

The psychological health of pregnant women has consequences for fetal development, birthing, and consequently, child outcomes. Depression during pregnancy is associated with premature delivery and low birth weight. Hence, it is clear that there is a need for methods to treat depression, and anxiety during pregnancy. Since the fetus can be negatively impacted by drugs, it would be preferable to find a treatment that did not require drugs. Mindfulness training has been shown to improve anxiety and depression normally and to relieve maternal anxiety and depression during pregnancy.

 

In today’s Research News article “An investigation of dispositional mindfulness and mood during pregnancy.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6676599/), Krusche and colleagues recruited pregnant women and had them complete measures of mindfulness, anxiety, depression, perceived stress, pregnancy distress, worries about labor, prenatal distress, pregnancy related discomforts, and pregnancy expectancies.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness, the lower the levels of anxiety, depression, perceived stress, worries about labor, pregnancy distress, prenatal distress, first and second trimester discomfort, and frequency and intensity of negative pregnancy experiences, and greater frequency and intensity of positive pregnancy experiences.

 

This study was correlational, so no conclusions can be reached about causation. But the results are striking that mindfulness is associated with better pregnancy related experiences, mood, and mental health. This portends well for the outcome of pregnancy and the health of the child. Future research should attempt to investigate the effects of mindfulness training during pregnancy on the mood, experiences, and mental health of the women.

 

So, better mental health during pregnancy is associated with mindfulness.

 

cultivating moment-to-moment awareness of thoughts and surroundings seem to help pregnant women keep their stress down and their spirits up. . . it may also lead to healthier newborns with fewer developmental problems down the line.” – Kira Newman

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Krusche, A., Crane, C., & Dymond, M. (2019). An investigation of dispositional mindfulness and mood during pregnancy. BMC pregnancy and childbirth, 19(1), 273. doi:10.1186/s12884-019-2416-2

 

Abstract

Background

Mindfulness courses are being offered to numerous groups and while a large body of research has investigated links between dispositional mindfulness and mood, few studies have reported this relationship during pregnancy. The aim of this study was to investigate this relationship in pregnant women to offer insight into whether an intervention which may plausibly increase dispositional mindfulness would be beneficial for this population.

Methods

A cross-sectional analysis was conducted to explore potential relationships between measures of mindfulness and general and pregnancy-specific mood. A sample of pregnant women (n = 363) was recruited using online advertising and community-based recruitment and asked to complete a number of questionnaires online.

Results

Overall, higher levels of mindfulness were associated with improved levels of general and pregnancy-related mood in pregnant women. Controlling for general stress and anxiety, higher scores for mindfulness in (psychologically) healthy women were associated with lower levels of pregnancy-related depression, distress and labour worry but this relationship was not apparent in those with current mental health problems. In participants without children, higher mindfulness levels were related to lower levels of pregnancy-related distress.

Conclusions

These results suggest a promising relationship between dispositional mindfulness and mood though it varies depending on background and current problems. More research is needed, but this paper represents a first step in examining the potential of mindfulness courses for pregnant women. Increasing mindfulness, and therefore completing mindfulness-based courses, is potentially beneficial for improvements in mood during pregnancy.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6676599/