Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Pregnant Women with Previous Difficult Postpartum Mood: A Mixed Methods Exploratory Study




Sivak, Katya

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Postpartum Depression (PPD) affects approximately 15% of Canadian mothers. PPD can have negative and enduring consequences for women and their relationships with their partners and children. Women who have suffered from PPD are 50% more likely to experience depression following delivery of another child. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) was developed to prevent relapse in recurrent depression. MBCT has been reported to be effective in the treatment of both depression and anxiety among at risk samples from the general and clinical populations. It is not clear whether the approach is a safe and acceptable preventive option to deliver to pregnant women who are at risk for developing PPD. Objectives: The aim of my study was to explore the safety, acceptability, and effectiveness of MBCT for pregnant women who experienced difficult mood after a previous childbirth. Method: I used a mixed methods design and recruited 5 participants from the Victoria community. Participants were at least 18 years of age, native English speakers, pregnant and had experienced difficult mood for at least two consecutive weeks within the first year following the previous delivery of a healthy infant. All participants completed the slightly modified 8-week MBCT program. I administered self-report, quantitative measures at baseline (T1), before and immediately after each group, and postintervention (T2). I collected qualitative data as weekly field notes, through a semi-structured focus group one week following completion of the program, and as comments participants provided on the self-report WC-DM measure. Findings: Quantitative findings suggest program safety; speak to the acceptability of the program; and suggest that MBCT was effective in significantly decreasing anxiety symptomology, decreasing self-reported worry about difficult mood, and increasing wellbeing for pregnant women with a history of difficult postpartum mood. Field notes, focus group data, and comments participants provided on the self-report WC-DM measure contribute to and explain quantitative findings and support MBCT as a safe, acceptable, and effective approach for this population.



Postpartum Depression, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy, Postpartum Mood, Pregnancy, Multiparous Women