Originally Published In
International Journal of Childbirth Education
This article serves to enlighten childbirth educators’ knowledge about mindfulness and the mother-baby benefits associated with incorporating mindfulness- based interventions into practice. Jon Kabat-Zinn, who developed the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program, brought the concept of mindfulness into the world of healthcare and mainstream society. Mindfulness is the practice of bringing awareness to the here and now using a variety of methods. Nancy Bardacke has taken the practice of mindfulness further and developed a program for expecting mothers, known as Mindfulness Based Childbirth and Parenting. This program has been shown to reduce stress responses that may be harmful to a pregnant woman’s well-being and that of her unborn child. Maternal stress is linked to preterm birth, low birth weight, miscarriages, lower Apgar scores, smaller infant head circumference, and postpartum depression. Integrating mindfulness-based interventions throughout pregnancy can help manage pain, reduce stress, anxiety, the risk of developing postpartum depression, and increase a woman’s overall mood.