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

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. We took feedback from pregnant women, and used this to create an online resource for mothers to use during pregnancy: “Enjoy Your Bump”.

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.

“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 started to test the resource with pregnant women, and continue to work with women and healthcare professionals to improve the tool. We are also aiming to extend our study into a trial involving multiple different centres. 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”

Researchers

Rebecca Reynolds, Fiona Denison, Jane Norman

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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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