Mindful Motherhood — Improving the Lives of New Mothers and Infants

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Mindful Motherhood — Improving the Lives of New Mothers and Infants

Created date

12 June 2018
Communications Team

The Mindful Motherhood program was developed and evaluated over the last decade through a partnership of IONS and California Pacific Medical Center, and is now being adopted by other hospitals — penetrating the larger field of maternal health and well-being, and making it more likely women will receive meditation training during pregnancy.

The program, developed by IONS President Cassandra Vieten when she was Director of Research, is an eight-session training for pregnant women and new mothers teaching ways to use meditation, gentle yoga, and other awareness practices to reduce stress, improve mood, and strengthen bonding with their baby. This work resulted in a book, an online course for pregnant women and new moms, and another course for professionals who want to incorporate Mindful Motherhood into their work with patients.

Now, the Mindful Motherhood Training has been adapted in partnership with the University of California, San Francisco for a five-year, NIH-funded project using meditation to increase well-being among low-income, inner-city, high-stress pregnant women. The results of that study, being published now, show that women who received the meditation training during pregnancy had reduced stress, lower depression up to 18 months postpartum, and their infants had fewer doctor visits in comparison to a group of women who did not receive the training. Another paper published this month, The Mindful Moms Training: Development of a Mindful-based Intervention to Reduce Stress and Overeating During Pregnancy, describes the development of the training, showing that reductions in stress and depression during pregnancy after meditation training were correlated with increases in mindfulness and emotion regulation skills.

This is an example of how IONS investigates the role of consciousness to affect our physical world, applies what we learn to real-world situations, and works to shift paradigms, in this case in the field of healthcare, to more routinely include consciousness-based practices.


Roubinov, D. S., Felder, J. N., Vieten, C., Coleman-Phox, K., Laraia, B., Adler, N., ... & Bush, N. R. (2018). Maternal depressive symptoms and infant healthcare utilization: The moderating role of prenatal mindfulness. General Hospital Psychiatry.

Felder, J.N., Roubinov, D., Bush, N., Coleman-Phox, K., Vieten, C., Laraia, B., Adler, N., & Epel, E. (2018). Effect of prenatal mindfulness training on depressive symptom severity through 18-months postpartum: A latent class analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychology.

Laraia, B. A., Adler, N. E., Coleman-Phox, K., Vieten, C., Mellin, L., Kristeller, J. L., … Epel, E. (2018). Novel Interventions to Reduce Stress and Overeating in Overweight Pregnant Women: A Feasibility Study.Maternal and Child Health Journal. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-018-2435-z

Vieten, C., Laraia, B., Kristeller, J., Adler, N., Coleman-Phox, K., Bush, N., Wahbeh, H., Duncan, L.G., Epel, E. (2018), BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth). The Mindful Moms Training: Development of a mindfulness-based intervention to reduce stress and overeating during pregnancy. https://rdcu.be/RUJZ


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