An open trial of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for the prevention of perinatal depressive relapse/recurrence

Arch Womens Ment Health. 2015 Feb;18(1):85-94. doi: 10.1007/s00737-014-0468-x. Epub 2014 Oct 9.


Pregnant women with histories of depression are at high risk of depressive relapse/recurrence during the perinatal period, and options for relapse/recurrence prevention are limited. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) has strong evidence among general populations but has not been studied among at-risk pregnant women to prevent depression. We examined the feasibility, acceptability, and clinical outcomes of depression symptom severity and relapse/recurrence associated with MBCT adapted for perinatal women (MBCT-PD). Pregnant women with depression histories were recruited from obstetrics clinics in a large health maintenance organization at two sites and enrolled in MBCT-PD (N = 49). Self-reported depressive symptoms and interview-based assessments of depression relapse/recurrence status were measured at baseline, during MBCT-PD, and through 6-months postpartum. Pregnant women reported interest, engagement, and satisfaction with the program. Retention rates were high, as were rates of completion of daily homework practices. Intent to treat analyses indicated a significant improvement in depression symptom levels and an 18 % rate of relapse/recurrence through 6 months postpartum. MBCT-PD shows promise as an acceptable, feasible, and clinically beneficial brief psychosocial prevention option for pregnant women with histories of depression. Randomized controlled trials are needed to examine the efficacy of MBCT-PD for the prevention of depressive relapse/recurrence during pregnancy and postpartum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Depression / prevention & control*
  • Depression / therapy
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Meditation / methods
  • Meditation / psychology
  • Mindfulness / methods*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Perinatal Care
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Quality of Life
  • Recurrence
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult