HOW DOES MINDFULNESS SUPPORT PREGNANCY, LABOUR & PARENTHOOD?

What the research shows...

 

lower risk of unhealthy weight gain

And better control of gestational diabetes (22-23)

Decreasing the risk of difficulties during labour, preterm birth and long-term metabolic health problems for you and your baby (24-25).

improved immune function

Protecting you from coughs and colds during pregnancy (26-28)

Your immune system plays an important role in embryo implantation and in initiating labour. Boosting your immune function for day-to-day health during pregnancy also benefits your baby when they receive a dose of your protective antibodies in the third trimester.

greater confidence

In your ability to cope with labour (37-39)

Mums who practice mindfulness also report feeling less fearful of labour in the later stages of pregnancy, more in control during labour, and more satisfied with their experience of birth (40-42).

promotes your baby's development

Socially, emotionally, cognitively and physically. 

When mindfulness is practiced during pregnancy your baby is more likely to be born a healthy weight (49), display appropriate social skills at 4 months old (50) and a more relaxed temperament at 10 months old (51). Mindfulness is also proven to lower the levels of the stress hormone Cortisol (52), and high levels of Cortisol in pregnancy can effect your child's development, health and susceptibility to stress in later life (53-54).

lower blood pressure

Good news for lowering your risk of Preeclampsia! (29-31)

High blood pressure during pregnancy can also sometimes compromise the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients to your baby via the placenta, and it can increase the likelihood of you needing an assisted delivery (e.g. C-section/forceps) (32).

higher pain tolerance

During labour (33-35).

As suggested by fewer requests for artificial pain relief from mindful mums. Mindfulness will also increase your tolerance for pregnancy related pains given how successful it has been in supporting people to cope with a variety of pain conditions (36).

fewer complications

During labour (43-48)

Through its ability to lower stress and anxiety, Mindfulness has the potential to reduce the risk of preterm birth, prolonged labour and assisted delivery (e.g. C-section/forceps & induction)...but also offers a way to cope with these complications if they do occur!

supports parenting

By encouraging patient, resilient and compassionate parents

who are in-tune with their baby's.  

With mindfulness supporting your own health, wellbeing and resilience, you will be able to be more present with your baby. Mindfulness values and skills also change the way that parents pay attention to and respond to their baby's needs. Both of these factors hugely support infant-parent attachment and bonding, creating the sense of safety and security that is vital for your child's future learning, confidence and relationships (55-58).

LESS STRESS, ANXIETY & DEPRESSION

Demonstrated by numerous studies during pregnancy & postnatally (1-8).

Great for you! Who doesn't want this?! And great for your baby - high levels of parental stress, anxiety and depression, (during & after pregnancy) are known to have adverse effects on child development (9-14).

better sleep

During pregnancy...and even when baby arrives (15-19).

Poor sleep is reported by 76% of pregnant women (20) and it can increase the risk of health complications for mother and baby (e.g. gestational diabetes, pre-term birth & post-natal depression) (21).

 
Happy Family
 

RESEARCH ARTICLES

1. Dunn, C. et al. (2012). Mindful pregnancy and childbirth: effects of a mindfulness-based intervention on women's psychological distress and well-being in the perinatal period. Archives of Women's Mental Health, 15, 139-143. 

2. Guardino, C.M. et al. (2013). Randomised controlled pilot trial of mindfulness training for stress reduction during pregnancy. Psychology & Health, 29(3), 334-349. 

3. Vieten, C., & Astin, J. (2008). Effects of a mindfulness-based intervention during pregnancy on prenatal stress and mood: Results of a pilot study. Archives of Women's Mental Health, 11(1), 67-74. 

4. Dhillon, A. et al. (2017). Mindfulness-based interventions during pregnancy: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Mindfulness, 8, 1421-1437. 

5. Beattie, J. et al. (2017). Effects of mindfulness on maternal stress, depressive symptoms and awareness of present moment experience: A pilot randomised trial. Midwifery, 50, 174-183. 

6. O'Leary, K. et al. (2016). Positive prenatal well-being: conceptualising and measuring mindfulness and gratitude in pregnancy. Archives of Women's Mental Health, 19, 665-673. 

7. Lucena, L. et al. (2020). Mindfulness interventions during pregnancy: A narrative review. Journal of Integrative Medicine, In Press. 

8. Dimidjian, S. et al. (2015). An open trial of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for the prevention of perinatal depressive relapse/recurrence. Archives of Women's Mental Health, 18, 85-94. 

15. Felder, N.J. et al. (2018). Poor sleep quality, psychological distress, and the buffering effect of mindfulness training during pregnancy. Behavioural Sleep Medicine, 16 (6), 611-624. 

16. Beddoe, A.E. et al. (2007). Effects of mindful yoga on sleep in pregnant women. Biological Research for Nursing, 11 (4), 363-370. 

17. Shallcross, A.J. et al. (2019). Waking up to the problem of sleep: can mindfulness help? A review of theory and evidence for the effects of mindfulness for sleep. Current Opinion in Psychology, 28, 37-41. 

18. Winbush, N.Y. et al. (2007). The effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on sleep disturbance: a systematic review. Explore (NY), 3(6), 585-591. 

19. Ong, J.C. et al. (2014). A randomised controlled trial of mindfulness meditation for chronic insomnia. Sleep, 37(9), 1553-1563. 

20. Mindell, J.A. et al. (2015). Sleep patterns and sleep disturbances across pregnancy. Sleep Medicine,16(4), 483–8.

21. Kantrowitz-Gordon, I. et al. (2020). Online prenatal trial in mindfulness sleep management (OPTIMISM): protocol for a pilot randomized controlled trial. Pilot & Feasibility Studies, 6(128).

22. Hutchinson, A.D. et al. (2017). Understanding maternal dietry choices during pregnancy: The role of social norms and mindful eating. Appetite, 1(112), 227-234. 

23. Youngwanichsetha, S. et al. (2014). The effects of mindfulness eating and yoga exercise on blood sugar levels of pregnant women with gestational diabetes mellitus. Appl Nurs Res, 27(4), 227-230.

24. Hedderson, M.M. et al. (2011). Gestational weight gain and risk of gestational diabetes mellitus. Obstet Gynecol, 115(3), 597-604.  

25. Tam, C.H.T. et al. (2018). The impact of maternal gestational weight gain on cardiometabolic risk factors in children. Diabetologia, 61, 2539-2548. 

26. Black, D.S. & Slavich, G.M. (2017). Mindfulness meditation and the immune system: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Ann N Y Acad Sci, 1373(1), 13-24. 

27. Carlson, L.E. et al. (2007). One year pre-post intervention follow-up of psychological, immune, endocrine and blood pressure outcomes of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in breast and prostate cancer outpatients. Brain Behavior and Immunity, 21(8), 1038-1049. 

28. Robinson, P.F. et al. (2004). Psycho-endocrine-immune response to mindfulness-based stress reduction in individuals infected with the human immunodeficiency virus: A quasiexperimental study. The Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine, 9(5). 

29. Braeken, M.A.K.A. et al. (2016). Potential benefits of mindfulness during pregnancy on maternal autonomic nervous system function and infant development. Psychophysiology, 54(2). 

30. Pascoe, M.C. et al. (2017). Mindfulness meditaes the physiological markers of stress: Systematic review and meta-analysis. J Psychiatr Res, 95, 156-178. 

31. Momeni, J. et al. (2016). The effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on cardiac patients' blood pressure, perceived stress, and anger: a single-blind randomized controlled trial. J Am Soc Hypertens, 10(10), 763-771. 

32. Paauw, N.D. et al. (2016). Pregnancy as a critical window for blood pressure regulation in mother and child: programming and reprogramming. Acta Physiologica, 219. 

33. Hughes, A. et al. (2009). Mindfulness approaches to childbirth and parenting. British Journal of Midwifery, 17(10), 630-635. 

34. Duncan, L.G. et al. (2017). Benefits of preparing for childbirth with mindfulness training: a randomized controlled trial with active comparison. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 17(140). 

35. Reiner, K. et al. (2013). Do mindfulness-based interventions reduce pain intensity? A critical review of the literature. Pain Medicine, 14(2), 230-242. 

36. Whitburn, L.Y. et al. (2014). Women's experiences of labour pain and the role of the mind: an exploratory study. Midwifery, 30(9), 1029-1035. 

37. Wan-Lin, P. et al. Mindfulness-based programme on the psychological health of pregnant women. Women and Birth, 32(1), e102-e109. 

38. Matvienko-Sikar, K. et al. (2016). The effects of mindfulness interventions on prenatal well-being: A systematic review. Psychology & Health, 31(12), 1-34. 

39. Duncan, L. et al. (2014). Mind in labor: effects of mind/body training on childbirth appraisals and pain medication use during labor. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 20(5)

40. Byrne, J. et al. (2014). Effectiveness of a mindfulness-based childbirth education pilot study on maternal self-efficacy and fear of childbirth. J Midwifery Womens Health, 59(2), 192-197. 

41. Fisher, C. et al. (2012). Participant experiences of mindfulness-based childbirth education: a qualitative study. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 12(126)

42. Van der Riet, P. et al. (2020). Exploring the impacts of mindfulness and yoga upon childbirth outcomes and maternal health: an integrative review. Scand J Caring Sci, 34(3), 552-565. 

43. Mackey, M.C. et al. (2001). Stress, pre-term labour and birth outcomes. Journal of advanced nursing, 32(3). 

44. Roy-Matton, N. et al. (2011). The impact of perceived maternal stress and other psychosocial risk factors on pregnancy complications. J Obstet Gynaecol Can, 33(4), 344-352. 

45. Madhavanprabhakaran, G. et al. (2013). Effects of pregnancy related anxiety on labour outcomes: A prospective cohort study. Journal of Research in Nursing and Midwifery, 2(7). 

46. Smorti, M. et al. (2019) .The effect of maternal depression and anxiety on labour and the well-being of the newborn. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 39(4), 492-497. 

47. Schwartz, L. et al. (2015). The effects of episodic versus continuous and major versus mild depression and anxiety symptoms on pregnancy and labour complications. Archives of Depression and Anxiety, 1(1). 

48. Bublitz, M. et al. (2019). Phone-delivered mindfulness training for pregnant women at risk of preterm birth. J Altern Complement Med, 25(4), 444-445. 

49. Nyklicek, I. et al. (2018). Mindfulness skills during pregnancy: prospective associations with mother's mood and neonatal birth weight. J Psychosom Res, 107, 14-19. 

50. Marijke, A.K.A. et al. (2016). Potential benefits of mindfulness during pregnancy on maternal autonomic nervous system function and infant development. Psychophysiology, 54(2). 

51. Van Den Heuvel, M.I. (2015). Maternal mindfulness during pregnancy and infant socio-emotional development and temperament: the mediating role of maternal anxiety. Early Human Dev, 91(2), 203-108. 

52. Pascoe, M.C. et al. (2017). Mindfulness mediates the physiological markers of stress: Systematic review and meta-analysis. J Psychiatr Res, 95, 156-178. 

53. Davis, E.P. & Sandman, C. A. (2010). The timing of prenatal exposure to maternal cortisol and psychosocial stress is associated with human infant cognitive development. Child Dev, 81(1), 131-148. 

54. Zijlmans, M.A.C. et al. (2015). Associations between maternal prenatal cortisol concentrations and child outcomes: A systematic review. Neuroscience & Biobehavioural Reviews, 53, 1-24. 

55. Snyder, R. et al. (2012). Attachment theory and mindfulness. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 21, 709-717.

56. Duncan, L.G., & Bardacke, N. (2010). Mindfulness-based childbirth and parenting education: Promoting family mindfulness during the perinatal period. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 19(2), 190-202. 

57. Duncan, L.G. & Shaddix, C. (2015). Mindfulness-based childbirth and parenting (MBCP): Innovation in birth preparation to support healthy, happy families. In J Birth Parent Educ, 2(2), 30-33. 

58. Malis, F.R. et al. (2017). Effects of an antenatal mindfulness0based childbirth and parenting programme on the postpartum experiences of mothers: a qualitative interview study. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth, 17(1).