'I've Changed My Mind', Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting (MBCP) for pregnant women with a high level of fear of childbirth and their partners: study protocol of the quasi-experimental controlled trial

Irena K. Veringa*, Esther I. de Bruin, Nancy Bardacke, Larissa G. Duncan, Francisca J. A. van Steensel, Carmen D. Dirksen, Susan M. Bogels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background: Approximately 25 % of pregnant women suffer from a high level of Fear of Childbirth (FoC), as assessed by the Wijma Delivery Expectancy Questionnaire (W-DEQ-A, score >= 66). FoC negatively affects pregnant women's mental health and adaptation to the perinatal period. Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting (MBCP) seems to be potentially effective in decreasing pregnancy-related anxiety and stress. We propose a theoretical model of Avoidance and Participation in Pregnancy, Birth and the Postpartum Period in order to explore FoC and to evaluate the underlying mechanisms of change of MBCP. Methods/Design: The 'I've Changed My Mind' study is a quasi-experimental controlled trial among 128 pregnant women (week 16-26) with a high level of FoC, and their partners. Women will be allocated to MBCP (intervention group) or to Fear of Childbirth Consultation (FoCC; comparison group). Primary outcomes are FoC, labour pain, and willingness to accept obstetrical interventions. Secondary outcomes are anxiety, depression, general stress, parental stress, quality of life, sleep quality, fatigue, satisfaction with childbirth, birth outcome, breastfeeding self-efficacy and cost-effectiveness. The total study duration for women is six months with four assessment waves: pre-and post-intervention, following the birth and closing the maternity leave period. Discussion: Given the high prevalence and severe negative impact of FoC this study can be of major importance if statistically and clinically meaningful benefits are found. Among the strengths of this study are the clinical-based experimental design, the extensive cognitive-emotional and behavioural measurements in pregnant women and their partners during the entire perinatal period, and the representativeness of study sample as well as generalizability of the study's results. The complex and innovative measurements of FoC in this study are an important strength in clinical research on FoC not only in pregnant women but also in their partners.
Original languageEnglish
Article number377
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2016


  • Fear of childbirth
  • Labour pain
  • Mindfulness
  • Obstetrical interventions
  • Cost-effectiveness

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