Prevention of relapse of depression during perinatal period: Can Mindfulness be the solution?

A study published (2016) by the researchers of the University of Colorado Boulder suggests that Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy adapted for Perinatal Depression (MBCT-PD) during pregnancy may reduce the risk of relapse of depression symptoms in mothers with the previous history of depression. This was the first Randomised Control Trial (RCT) to explore the effectiveness of MBCT-PD during the antenatal period.


The authors conclude that:

“MBCT-PD is an acceptable and clinically beneficial program for pregnant women with histories of depression; teaching the skills and practices of mindfulness meditation and cognitive-behavioral therapy during pregnancy may help to reduce the risk of depression during an important transition in many women’s lives.”


We know that if a mother had depression in the past then she could be at increased risk of relapse during the perinatal period. Many mothers are not keen on taking/ continuing antidepressant medications during pregnancy.


7 out of 10 mothers could have a relapse of their symptoms if they discontinue medications (for mental health conditions) during pregnancy.


Therefore, non-pharmacological interventions such as MBCT-PD could be a promising option for the future in the perinatal period.


As the research into this area is at early stages, so perhaps more work would be required in the future to determine the benefits of MBCT.




Dimidjian, S., Goodman, S. H., Felder, J. N., Gallop, R., Brown, A. P., & Beck, A. (2016). Staying well during pregnancy and the postpartum: A pilot randomized trial of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for the prevention of depressive relapse/recurrence. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 84(2), 134-145.