Effectiveness of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for comorbid depression and anxiety in pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial

  • Mehdi ZemestaniEmail author
  • Zahra Fazeli Nikoo
Original Article


Pregnant women are at high risk of mood and anxiety disorders, and options for non-pharmacological treatment are limited. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) has strong evidence among people with mood and anxiety disorders, but limited studies reported the effectiveness of MBCT on perinatal comorbid conditions. This study aimed to examine the effects of an 8-week MBCT intervention on pregnant women with comorbid depression and anxiety. In this randomized controlled study, 38 pregnant women with a diagnosis of depression and varying levels of comorbid anxiety disorders were randomly assigned to either MBCT or a control group. Scores on the Beck Depression Inventory-II, Beck Anxiety Inventory, Emotion Regulation Questionnaire, and Scales of Psychological Wellbeing were used as outcome measures at baseline, after MBCT, and through 1-month follow-up. Intent to treat analyses provided preliminary evidence that MBCT can be effective in reducing depressive and anxiety symptoms and in enhancing the use of adaptive emotion regulation strategies and psychological well-being. Improvements in outcomes were maintained 1 month. Results provide cross-cultural support for MBCT as a treatment for depression and anxiety in pregnant women. This brief and non-pharmacological treatment can be used to improve maternal psychological health.


Pregnancy Perinatal depression and anxiety Treatment Mindfulness 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in these studies were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. All study procedure was approved by the Kurdistan University ethic review board.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical PsychologyUniversity of KurdistanSanandajIran

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