Enjoy Your Bump: using online tools to improve mental wellbeing during pregnancy

Rebecca Reynolds, Fiona Denison, Jane Norman

We’ve helped set up a tool that uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help expecting mothers stay happy and healthy throughout pregnancy.

Struggles with mental wellbeing are common during pregnancy, and depression and anxiety can have effects on the health of both a mother and her baby.

Mental health problems are the fourth most common cause of maternal death, and the effects of perinatal depression on the health of both mothers and babies costs around £8.1 billion a year in the UK.

Depression during pregnancy often isn't treated: there simply aren’t enough relevant mental health services, and many drugs aren't safe to use during pregnancy. We want this to change.  Researchers supported by Tommy’s carried out a survey of pregnant women, and found that most were enthusiastic about an online tool to help them deal with some of the worries of pregnancy.

Over the past few years we have developed an online cognitive behavioural therapy package specific for pregnancy called 'Enjoy your bump'. We have piloted the use of this package in women identified at booking as being at risk of developing depression. In this pilot study, we found that depression and anxiety scores improved following use of the online package.

Cognitive behavioural therapy

“Enjoy Your Bump” uses techniques based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). This is a type of therapy that helps people to manage their problems through changing the ways that they think and act. The tool is easy to use, and can be accessed on a tablet, smart phone, PC or even a kindle. It is unique, as it is the only online resource shaped to address specific questions around pregnancy, as told to us by expecting mothers.

This year we have tested the resource with pregnant women, and continue to work with women and healthcare professionals to improve the tool. We are now moving forward to a small trial to pilot the resource with pregnant women who are currently experiencing low mood and/or anxiety. 

Feedback from women

The feedback so far has been very positive: 

“It made me realise I'm not alone”

“Practical and thought-provoking course”

“Made me re-evaluate my priorities and the way I see things”

We now want to see whether we can trial our resource at a population level with women and health care professionals.

Timing

April 2016-December 2020


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Tommy's funds research across the UK investigating the reasons for pregnancy complications and loss. We can keep you updated on our research news.  If you're interested in being kept updated about our research and news from Tommy's, click here.

Funding

This study takes place in a Tommy’s centre and is funded by Tommy’s and the Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation

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