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The impact of antenatal psychological group interventions on psychological well-being : a systematic review of the qualitative and quantitative evidence

Wadephul, Franziska; Jones, Catriona; Jomeen, Julie


Franziska Wadephul

Catriona Jones

Julie Jomeen


Depression, anxiety and stress in the perinatal period can have serious, long-term consequences for women, their babies and their families. Over the last two decades, an increasing number of group interventions with a psychological approach have been developed to improve the psychological well-being of pregnant women. This systematic review examines interventions targeting women with elevated symptoms of, or at risk of developing, perinatal mental health problems, with the aim of understanding the successful and unsuccessful features of these interventions. We systematically searched online databases to retrieve qualitative and quantitative studies on psychological antenatal group interventions. A total number of 19 papers describing 15 studies were identified; these included interventions based on cognitive behavioural therapy, interpersonal therapy and mindfulness. Quantitative findings suggested beneficial effects in some studies, particularly for women with high baseline symptoms. However, overall there is insufficient quantitative evidence to make a general recommendation for antenatal group interventions. Qualitative findings suggest that women and their partners experience these interventions positively in terms of psychological wellbeing and providing reassurance of their ‘normality’. This review suggests that there are some benefits to attending group interventions, but further research is required to fully understand their successful and unsuccessful features.


Wadephul, F., Jones, C., & Jomeen, J. (in press). The impact of antenatal psychological group interventions on psychological well-being : a systematic review of the qualitative and quantitative evidence. Healthcare, 4(4), 32.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 27, 2016
Online Publication Date Jun 8, 2016
Deposit Date Jun 13, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jun 13, 2016
Journal Healthcare
Electronic ISSN 2227-9032
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 4
Issue 4
Pages 32
Keywords Perinatal mental health, Antenatal intervention, Antenatal depression, Postnatal depression, Antenatal anxiety, Antenatal stress, Systematic review
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Additional Information Copy of article first published in: Healthcare, 2016, v.4, issue 32


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Copyright Statement
© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (

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