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06-10-2017 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 3/2018

Mindfulness 3/2018

Postpartum Outcomes and Formal Mindfulness Practice in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Perinatal Women

Mindfulness > Uitgave 3/2018
Christina M. Luberto, Elyse R. Park, Janice H. Goodman


Anxiety is common during pregnancy and associated with poorer outcomes for mother and child. Our single-arm pilot study of an 8-week mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) intervention for pregnant women with elevated anxiety showed significant pre- to post-intervention improvements in anxiety, depression, worry, mindfulness, and self-compassion. It remains unclear whether these improvements are maintained postpartum and whether amount of formal mindfulness practice is correlated with outcomes. The current study examined whether (1) improvements in psychosocial outcomes were maintained 3 months postpartum; (2) women were adherent to formal practice recommendations; and (3) amount of mindfulness practice was correlated with outcomes. Twenty-three pregnant women (M age = 33.5, SD = 4.40; 75% White; 71% with generalized anxiety disorder) completed home practice logs throughout the intervention, and self-report measures before and after the intervention and 3 months postpartum. Results indicated that previously reported post-intervention improvements in anxiety, worry, mindfulness, and self-compassion were maintained postpartum (p’s < .05), and reductions in depression further improved (p < .001). Participants were generally adherent to mindfulness practice recommendations during the intervention (54–80% weekly adherence; M = 17.31 total practice hours [SD = 7.45]), and many continued practicing 1 week post-intervention (91%) and postpartum (55%). Mindfulness practice during the intervention was not significantly correlated with any outcome at post-intervention or postpartum. Mindfulness practice postpartum was only marginally related to improved worry postpartum (p = .05). MBCT may be associated with maintained improvements in psychosocial outcomes for women during pregnancy and postpartum, but the role of mindfulness practice is unclear. Research using larger samples and randomized controlled designs is needed.

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