Institute of Good Manufacturing Practices India®

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NIH-funded study reveals intervention lowers the likelihood of developing postpartum anxiety and depression by more than 70%

Results from a significant NIH-sponsored clinical trial in Pakistan show that a non-specialized, psychology-trained intervention for pregnant women substantially reduced their risk of postpartum anxiety and depression. This intervention, "Happy Mother-Healthy Baby," administered by providers with bachelor’s degrees in psychology but no clinical experience, proved effective in low-resource settings.

Pregnant women with mild anxiety symptoms were randomly assigned to receive routine care or the cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)-based intervention. Six weeks postpartum, researchers evaluated participants for anxiety and depression.

Only 9% of the intervention group developed moderate-to-severe anxiety versus 27% in routine care, and 12% experienced depression compared to 41% in routine care.

Happy Mother-Healthy Baby involved six sessions teaching women to manage anxious thoughts and behaviours. With up to 30% of Global South women experiencing prenatal anxiety and limited access to clinical care, this intervention offers hope for preventing postpartum mental health issues in resource-limited areas.