PREPP: postpartum depression prevention through the mother-infant dyad

Arch Womens Ment Health. 2016 Apr;19(2):229-42. doi: 10.1007/s00737-015-0549-5. Epub 2015 Aug 2.


Most interventions to prevent postpartum depression (PPD) focus on the mother rather than the mother-infant dyad. As strong relationships between infant sleep and cry behavior and maternal postpartum mood have been demonstrated by previous research, interventions targeted at the dyad may reduce symptoms of PPD. The goal of the current study was to examine the effectiveness of Practical Resources for Effective Postpartum Parenting (PREPP). PREPP is a new PPD prevention protocol that aims to treat women at risk for PPD by promoting maternally mediated behavioral changes in their infants, while also including mother-focused skills. Results of this randomized control trial (RCT) (n = 54) indicate that this novel, brief intervention was well tolerated and effective in reducing maternal symptoms of anxiety and depression, particularly at 6 weeks postpartum. Additionally, this study found that infants of mothers enrolled in PREPP had fewer bouts of fussing and crying at 6 weeks postpartum than those infants whose mothers were in the Enhanced TAU group. These preliminary results indicate that PREPP has the potential to reduce the incidence of PPD in women at risk and to directly impact the developing mother-child relationship, the mother's view of her child, and child outcomes.

Keywords: Anxiety; Infant fuss and cry; Postpartum depression; Pregnancy; Randomized control trial.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Crying
  • Depression, Postpartum / prevention & control*
  • Depression, Postpartum / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Middle Aged
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Mothers / education*
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Object Attachment
  • Parenting*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Postnatal Care / methods*
  • Postnatal Care / psychology
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult