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Comparing web-based mindfulness with loving-kindness and compassion training for promoting well-being in pregnancy: Protocol for a three-arm pilot randomized controlled trial

Finlay-Jones, A.L., Davis, J.A., O'Donovan, A., Kottampally, K., Ashley, R.A., Silva, D., Ohan, J.L., Prescott, S.L. and Downs, J. (2020) Comparing web-based mindfulness with loving-kindness and compassion training for promoting well-being in pregnancy: Protocol for a three-arm pilot randomized controlled trial. JMIR Research Protocols, 9 (10). Art. e19803.

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Background: Promoting psychological well-being and preventing distress among pregnant women is an important public health goal. In addition to adversely impacting the mother’s health and well-being, psychological distress in pregnancy increases the risk of poor pregnancy outcomes, compromises infant socioemotional development and bonding, and heightens maternal and child vulnerability in the postpartum period. Mindfulness and compassion-based interventions show potential for prevention and early intervention for perinatal distress. As there is an established need for accessible, scalable, flexible, and low-cost interventions, there is increased interest in the delivery of these programs on the web. This project aims to pilot a three-arm randomized controlled trial (RCT) to determine the feasibility of a full-scale RCT comparing 2 web-based interventions (mindfulness vs loving-kindness and compassion) with a web-based active control condition (progressive muscle relaxation).

Objective: The primary objective of this study is to assess the feasibility of an RCT protocol comparing the 3 conditions delivered on the web as a series of instructional materials and brief daily practices over a course of 8 weeks. The second objective is to explore the experiences of women in the different intervention conditions. The third objective is to estimate SD values for the outcome measures to inform the design of an adequately powered trial to determine the comparative efficacy of the different conditions.

Methods: Pregnant women (n=75) participating in a longitudinal birth cohort study (the ORIGINS project) will be recruited to this study from 18 weeks of gestational age. We will assess the acceptability and feasibility of recruitment and retention strategies and the participants’ engagement and adherence to the interventions. We will also assess the experiences of women in each of the 3 intervention conditions by measuring weekly changes in their well-being and engagement with the program and by conducting a qualitative analysis of postprogram interviews.

Results: This project was funded in September 2019 and received ethics approval on July 8, 2020. Enrollment to the study will commence in September 2020. Feasibility of a full-scale RCT will be assessed using ADePT (a process for decision making after pilot and feasibility trials) criteria.

Conclusions: If the study is shown to be feasible, results will be used to inform future full-scale RCTs. Evidence for flexible, scalable, and low-cost interventions could inform population health strategies to promote well-being and reduce psychological distress among pregnant women.

Trial Registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry Number 12620000672954p;

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Veterinary Medicine
Publisher: JMIR Publications
Copyright: © 2020 JMIR Publications
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