Pregnancy in Mind process evaluation

Publication date 2020

This evaluation report looks at the feasibility of implementing our Pregnancy in Mind service.

Pregnancy in Mind is an antenatal programme that aims to improve the mental health of parents-to-be who are experiencing, or at risk of, mild or moderate anxiety or depression. Through mindfulness, active relaxation, psychoeducation and social support the programme helps to develop parents’ coping skills and build positive parent-child relationships. The programme places a focus on supporting the development of the parent-foetal relationship as well as the positive couple/co-parenting relationship.

Based on findings from our evaluation of the first phase of Pregnancy in Mind during 2015-2017, we revised and adapted the service model.

In phase two we carried out a process evaluation of the revised model using a mixed-methods approach. This included semi-structured interviews with programme participants and practitioners, and an analysis of case data. This enabled us to capture the experiences of mothers and their partners across all the sites delivering Pregnancy in Mind.

Authors: Elizabeth Thomas, Sophie Johnston, Nicola McConnell and Emma Belton.

Download Pregnancy in Mind process evaluation
Download the evaluation report (PDF)

Key finding

After participating in the eight week service, parents-to-be experienced statistically significant improvements in their mental health:

  • 79% of participants saw clinical improvements in their anxiety
  • 71% of participants saw clinical improvements in their depression.

Other findings

  • Parents reported being more able to manage their mental health after the programme, using techniques and practices learnt in the group.
  • There were statistically significant increases in mothers’ connection to their developing baby, with participants attributing this increase to activities done in Pregnancy in Mind groups. It is important to note that an increase in parent-foetal connection is expected a pregnancy progresses, so this result can't be attributed solely to the Pregnancy in Mind programme.
  • Some parents reported improvements in the quality of the relationship they had with their partner, although this was not statistically significant.
  • Parents reported improved communication with their support networks outside of partner relationships.
  • Some single parents found the focus on couples’ relationships had a negative impact on their mental health.

Recommendations

The report makes some recommendations for changes to practice within Pregnancy in Mind.

  • Increase the number of referrals generated by diversifying referral pathways.
  • Allocate participants into groups in a way which encourages relationship building and appropriate sharing of experiences.
  • Focus on the inclusion of single parents and other participants that may feel the ‘odd one out’, for example younger/older parents, first-time parents or parents from different cultural backgrounds.
  • Give more consideration to potential previous trauma that group members may have experienced, and how this might impact on content delivery.
Me and [partner] probably argue very rarely but she said I don’t talk much. But since we’ve done the class, I do talk about my feelings and stuff like that, so it’s helped our relationship.

Parent
I think it makes you feel good with yourself and your partner because you’re doing something for the little one that’s not even here yet and you are already putting thought into what she’s going to like or what he’s going to like.

Parent

Citation

Please cite as: Thomas, E., Johnston, S., McConnell, N. and Belton, E. (2020) Pregnancy in mind process evaluation. London: NSPCC.

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