Preventing Perinatal Depression in High Risk Women: Moving the Mothers and Babies Course from Clinical Trials to Community Implementation

Matern Child Health J. 2015 Oct;19(10):2102-10. doi: 10.1007/s10995-015-1729-7.


A growing research literature highlights the public health need for preventive interventions to reduce symptoms and incidence of perinatal depression among vulnerable populations. The Mothers and Babies (MB) course is a cognitive-behavioral intervention designed to teach mood regulation skills to English- and Spanish-speaking low-income women at high risk for perinatal depression. We describe the development of the MB course and evaluate the extent to which research findings support efficacy, effectiveness, and dissemination based on the Society for Prevention Research Standards Committee's standards of evidence. Our review of research and implementation activities suggests that the MB intervention demonstrates promising evidence for efficacy in reducing depressive symptoms; empirical support for prevention of major depressive episodes is still preliminary. Work is in progress to evaluate program effectiveness and prepare for broad dissemination and implementation. The MB course shows promise as an intervention for low-income women at risk for perinatal mood issues. Spanish and English intervention materials have been developed that can be delivered in different settings (hospitals, home visiting), in different dosages (6, 8, or 12 sessions), and via different modalities (group, individual). Evaluating the MB course against current standards is intended to inform other prevention intervention development research.

Keywords: Perinatal depression; Prevention; Public health; Standards of evidence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Depression / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Health Plan Implementation*
  • House Calls / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / psychology*
  • Perinatal Care / methods*
  • Residence Characteristics*