Cover: Mindfulness in Pregnancy and Postpartum

Mindfulness in Pregnancy and Postpartum

Protocol of a Pilot Randomized Trial of Virtually Delivered Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy to Promote Well-Being During the Perinatal Period

Published in: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 21, Issue 5, page 622 (2024). DOI: 10.3390/ijerph21050622

Posted on Jun 26, 2024

by Shannon D. Donofry, Dayna Winograd, Diva Kothari, Christine C. Call, Kelsey E. Magee, Riley J. Jouppi, Rachel P. Kolko Conlon, Michele D. Levine


During the period from pregnancy through the first year postpartum, vulnerable individuals are at elevated risk for the onset or worsening of psychological distress, and accessible (e.g., virtually delivered) mental health interventions are needed. Research suggests that Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) can effectively mitigate psychological distress, although few studies have evaluated MBCT in the perinatal period, and samples have been clinically homogenous. Thus, we have designed and are conducting a pilot trial of virtually delivered MBCT with pregnant individuals experiencing a range of psychological symptoms to assess its feasibility and preliminarily explore its effectiveness. Here, we present the study protocol.


Eligible participants (target N = 70) are ≥18 years with pregnancies between 12 and 30 weeks of gestation. Participants complete a diagnostic interview, self-report symptom ratings, and a computerized cognitive battery assessing self-regulation at the baseline. Participants are then randomized to either MBCT or care as usual. The MBCT intervention involves eight weekly group sessions delivered virtually, with each session focusing on a mindfulness practice followed by group discussion and skill development. Participants in the intervention group are also encouraged to practice mindfulness skills between sessions. Participants in the control condition are provided with information about mindfulness and treatment resources. Baseline measures are repeated following the eight-week intervention period and at three months postpartum.


This pilot study is designed to evaluate the feasibility of virtually delivered MBCT and explore group differences in psychological symptoms during the perinatal period, and will lay the foundation for a larger clinical trial focused on optimizing this intervention to improve psychological functioning among diverse pregnant individuals.

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