Gunilla Lönnberg - Mindfulness based childbirth and parenting program : supporting a good beginning

Hello and congratulations to your PhD,
People at the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health and others are interested to know a little more about your work.

Gunilla Lönnberg
Gunilla Lönnberg

What is your thesis about?

My thesis is about the evaluation of a program called Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting (MBCP), aiming to see if the program can promote mental health, reduce stress and prevent depression for pregnant women at risk. I also explored the mothers’ and fathers’ experiences of the program and effects on infant social-emotional development.

Which is the most important key result? 

The pregnant women who were randomized to the intervention reduced their stress and depressive symptoms and increased their positive states of mind more than the women in the control condition. They also perceived that they could understand their infants’ cues to a higher degree and that their infant had a better capacity to self-regulate, compared with mothers in the control-arm. Mothers and fathers expressed that they learned ways to better cope with stress, anxiety, pain, and distress from participating in MBCP.

Is there something else you would like to add? Maybe something that surprised you during your PhD student journey?

There were a number of parents who experienced that the program had helped them to become more self-compassionate and better at communicating. I found that really inspiring! Especially when I listened to a recorded interview and heard how much it meant for a participant just to become more kind towards herself.

How can this new knowledge contribute to improve women’s and children’s health?

It’s super important to intervene early in order to stop the intergenerational transmission of mental ill-health that can occur during pregnancy and infancy. This crucial time in life is a window of opportunity to support a positive development in ways that can have far-reaching effects. We now know more about how such support can be given! The Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting program can promote well-being and build resilience to deal with challenges in pregnancy, childbirth, infant-care, co-parenting and life in general.

Thank you Gunilla and good luck in the future.

Mindfulness based childbirth and parenting program : supporting a good beginning