Effects of an antenatal mindfulness-based childbirth and parenting programme on the postpartum experiences of mothers : a qualitative interview study

Roy Malis, Françoise; Meyer, Thorsten ORCID; Gross, Mechthild M. ORCID

BACKGROUND: Applications of mindfulness during the perinatal period have recently been explored and appear to offer a decrease in stress, anxiety and depression during this period. However, it still remains unclear what practical use women make of mindfulness during the postpartum period and the mechanisms through which it works. The subjective experience of mindfulness practice by mothers is not fully understood. The aim of the present study was to explore how women enrolled in a "Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting programme" experienced mindfulness practice during the postpartum period. METHODS: Ten pregnant women over 18 years of age with singleton pregnancies, no diagnoses of mental illness and participation in a "Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting programme" were recruited to take part in a postpartum interview. Audio recordings of the interviews were transcribed and analysed thematically based on a phenomenological approach. The transcripts of nine interviews were submitted to a coding process consisting of the identification of words, sentences or paragraphs expressing common ideas. These ideas were classified in codes, each code representing a specific description, function or action (e.g. self-perception, personal organization, formal/informal meditation practice). Progressively, a framework of thematic ideas was extracted from the transcripts, allowing the interviews to be systematically organized and their content analysed in depth. RESULTS: Five themes emerged from the descriptions of practices of mindfulness during the postpartum period: perception of the present moment, breathing, acceptance, self-compassion and the perception of mindfulness as a shelter. CONCLUSION: Mindfulness practices during the postpartum period may contribute to a mother's psychological wellbeing. The perception of mindfulness as a shelter had not previously been reported. Future research could address whether this role is specific to the postpartum period

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Roy Malis, Françoise / Meyer, Thorsten / Gross, Mechthild: Effects of an antenatal mindfulness-based childbirth and parenting programme on the postpartum experiences of mothers. a qualitative interview study. 2017.

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