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Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting (MBCP) is effective in increasing natural childbirth in pregnant women with high fear of childbirth (FOC) as compared to enhanced care as usual (ECAU). We aimed to examine through which pathway of action MBCP reaches this effect, based on a model of approaching or avoiding the challenges related to childbirth. One hundred eleven pregnant women with high FOC were measured pre- and post-intervention on FOC (emotion pathway), catastrophic beliefs about labour pain (cognition pathway) and mindful awareness (attention pathway). A multiple mediation model was used to examine through which pathway the mechanism of change operated in relation to approach (i.e., natural childbirth) versus avoidance (i.e., self-requested caesarean section). It was found that greater mindful awareness (18% R2 = 0.18, F[1107] = 22.77, p < 0.0001) was the only significant mechanism of change operating through the attentional pathway leading to natural childbirth. More specifically, nonreactivity to inner experience (a facet of mindful awareness) showed to be the strongest mechanism of change. More extensive meditation practice was positively associated with natural childbirth; however, the number of completed MBCP sessions was not associated with the outcome. An increase in mindful awareness was the strongest mechanism of change for better adaptation to the challenges of childbirth. Decreases in neither FOC nor catastrophic beliefs about labour pain were identified as mechanisms of change. Additionally, the more one meditated, the more one was inclined towards a natural childbirth. MBCP enhances adaptation to the challenges of childbirth and less use of obstetric interventions in the presence of high FOC. The Netherlands Trial Register (NTR; 4302 ). © 2022. The Author(s).


Irena K Veringa-Skiba, Kelly Ziemer, Esther I de Bruin, Ed J de Bruin, Susan M Bögels. Mindful awareness as a mechanism of change for natural childbirth in pregnant women with high fear of childbirth: a randomised controlled trial. BMC pregnancy and childbirth. 2022 Jan 19;22(1):47

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PMID: 35045820

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