First and foremost, Mothers and Babies is a perinatal depression prevention intervention that is easy for
providers to implement and easy for clients to understand and utilize in their daily lives to improve mood and cope with stress in their lives.
Mothers and Babies (MB) is a program that promotes healthy mood management by teaching pregnant women and new moms how to effectively respond to stress in their lives through increasing the frequency of thoughts and behaviors that lead to positive mood states. Designed as a perinatal depression prevention, the Mothers and Babies targets three specific risk factors: limited social support, lack of pleasant activities, and harmful thought patterns. Mothers and Babies offers a “toolkit” of approaches for women to observe their mood, note factors affecting their mood, and make changes in their daily lives to impact these areas. Based on principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), attachment theory, and psychoeducation, the Mothers and Babies Course is designed to be delivered by clinic- or community-based providers from a variety of educational and professional backgrounds, and can be delivered as a group intervention or as a one-on-one intervention in various settings where pregnant women access services (e.g. prenatal clinics, home visiting programs, WIC programs, County Health Departments, etc.).
Mothers and Babies can be delivered one-on-one or in a group setting. Both modalities include a Field Guide or Instructor Manual for the provider’s use, as well as a workbook for clients to use in tandem with the delivery of the content. The
curriculum is divided into 3 main modules that address (1) pleasant activities, (2) thoughts, and (3) contact with others. Each session incorporates aspects of psychoeducation to foster observation of one’s mood and identification of the things that affect one’s mood, as well as promotion of healthy bonding and developmentally appropriate mother-infant interactions. Mothers and Babies can be delivered by individuals with background/training in mental health (e.g., clinical social worker, psychologist) or individuals without specialized mental health training (e.g., home visitors).
MB has been designed for prenatal women, in their 2nd or 3rd trimester, with the intent that most or all of the course content can be disseminated prior to delivery, preparing new mothers with their “toolkit”. MB has also been used with postpartum women and interconceptual women, wherein providers may alter some examples in the curriculum to better fit clients’ situations. The core MB skills are relevant across the life course.
The MB 1-on-1 intervention is designed to be implemented by one staff person (e.g. a home visitor) with one client, over the course of 12 brief (15-20 minute) sessions. Each visit includes key points, interactive activities, and a brief script to provide a framework and examples for discussion. These brief sessions are designed so home visitors can integrate the content into the course of a regular home visit or deliver them as supplemental sessions. Between visits, clients work on “personal projects” to practice new skills and reinforce the concepts in the context of their everyday lives. Read More.
The MB Group intervention can be facilitated by one or two providers, over the course of six, two-hour group sessions. Each session contains didactic instruction, activities and group discussion, as well as assigned “personal projects” to practice new skills and reinforce key concepts in the context of everyday life. Sessions incorporate aspects of psychoeducation to foster self-awareness and self-efficacy, as well as promotion of healthy bonding and developmentally appropriate mother-infant interactions. Two booster sessions at 3 month intervals provide opportunities for review and encouragement, as well as opportunities to keep new moms engaged with other program services. Ideal group size is 6-10 women. Barriers to attendance should be anticipated whenever possible by providing transportation, childcare, refreshments during the group sessions, and scheduling groups at a convenient time and location. Read More.