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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2020, Vol. 18 ›› Issue (6): 470-477.doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2020.07.007

• Review • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Mindfulness interventions during pregnancy: A narrative review

Leandro Lucenaa, Cristina Frangeb, Ana Claudia Amorim Pintoa, Monica Levy Andersena, Sergio Tufika, Helena Hachula,c   

  1. a Department of Psychobiology, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo 04023062, Brazil
    b Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo 04039002, Brazil
    c Department of Gynecology, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo 04024002, Brazil
  • Received:2020-04-18 Accepted:2020-06-10 Online:2020-11-10 Published:2020-07-31
  • Contact: Helena Hachul

Pregnancy is a period of major transformations in a woman’s life; increased stress, and mood and sleep disorders are frequent. This review evaluates mindfulness interventions during pregnancy and their ability to help manage stress, anxiety, depression, emotional regulation, level of mindfulness and sleep quality. A search of English language scientific literature relevant to mindfulness interventions for pregnant women was conducted using PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science, without restriction on publication date. Inclusion criteria were randomized clinical trials with pregnant women, using mindfulness as an intervention for at least three weeks, in one of our main areas of interest, and using only validated scales to measure outcomes. Two hundred and thirty studies were identified in our searches of research databases, and thirteen were included in our analysis. We found a large diversity of mindfulness programs, heterogeneity among the instruments used to evaluate outcomes, and inconsistency in the gestational periods used in the studies. Mindfulness interventions were beneficial for stress, anxiety and depression. Mindfulness was also effective when applied in pregnant women with a history of depression or experiencing depression. Considering emotional regulation and the level of mindfulness, there were signs of improvement, but more studies are needed. None of the studies evaluated sleep quality. Our review provides information about current mindfulness programs, an overview of the effects of mindfulness interventions, a description of the measurements used so far, and recommendations for developing high-quality mindfulness protocols for pregnant women.

Key words: Mindfulness, Pregnancy, Anxiety, Stress, Depression, Sleep

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