Mindfulness for pregnancy: A randomised controlled study of online mindfulness during pregnancy.
Krusche A., Dymond M., Murphy SE., Crane C.
OBJECTIVE: Prenatal depression, stress and anxiety are significant predictors of postnatal depression and also have a direct negative impact on the family. Helpful psychological interventions during pregnancy are scarce and expensive, and usually only available for a small percentage of those suffering or deemed to be at risk. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential of an online mindfulness course for expectant mothers. DESIGN: A randomised study was conducted to explore differences between control and active participants allocated to take an online mindfulness course, offered free to research participants, or wait. SETTING: The course provided was online and already available but given to study participants for free. Measures were also taken online using a secure site to collect the data. PARTICIPANTS: 185 mothers were recruited and randomised to the online course (n = 107) or a waitlist control (n = 78), with 72 completers at post-course (n = 22 active, n = 50 control) and 48 completers at postnatal follow-up (n = 16 active and n = 32 control). INTERVENTION: The online mindfulness course is available at www.bemindfulonline.com and comprises a four-week, condensed version of an eight-week mindfulness course, with videos and written instructions for guided meditation and other mindfulness-based exercises. MEASUREMENTS AND FINDINGS: A number of psychological well-being measurements were taken including stress, anxiety, depression and pregnancy-specific measure such as labour worry. Intention to treat analysis (baseline carried forwards) showed no group difference in stress from pre to post intervention or control. KEY CONCLUSIONS: Results indicated that the course was potentially beneficial for those who completed it, but levels of drop out from the course were very high. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Although outcomes for mothers completing the intervention were improved relative to a waitlist control, high rates of drop out indicate that the online course has low completion rates for pregnant women in its current format.