A new study from researchers at UW–Madison and University of California-San Francisco shows mindfulness training that addresses fear and pain during childbirth improves childbirth experiences and lessens depression symptoms both during pregnancy and the early postpartum period.
This rigorous new study comparing mainstream childbirth education with childbirth education including mindfulness skills points to the benefits of this novel mind-body approach for reducing fear of childbirth among first time mothers.
“Fear of the unknown affects us all, and perhaps none more so than pregnant women,” states Larissa Duncan, the Elizabeth C. Davies Chair in Child & Family Well-Being and Associate Professor of Human Development & Family Studies at the School of Human Ecology and the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. “Mindfulness skills seem to support normal birth processes and benefit women’s mental health. Many women and their healthcare providers are concerned about the use of medications during pregnancy, labor, and while breastfeeding. A mindfulness approach offers the possibility of decreasing the need for these medications and can reach women who may not know they are at risk for perinatal depression or can’t access mental health services.”