Efficacy of 1-on-1 Intervention for Mothers and Babies for Postpartum Depression

baby holding mom's hand
baby holding mom’s hand
These data may be helpful in developing targeted interventions for women at risk for postpartum depression.

The Mothers and Babies (MB) 1-on-1 intervention technique appears effective in delivering a cognitive behavioral intervention to women at risk for postpartum depression, according to data published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

A cluster randomized trial was conducted with 120 pregnant women not currently experiencing major depression. Home visitors were used to deliver interventions: 8 programs delivered MB 1-on-1 and 6 programs delivered usual home visits. Outcomes were assessed at baseline and at 3 and 6 months postpartum. Psychiatric symptoms were assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory II and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item scale.

Within the MB 1-on-1 intervention group, scores on each scale decreased between baseline and 3 months postpartum, with further reductions apparent at 6 months postpartum. However, among the control group, participants experienced roughly similar depressive symptoms from baseline to each follow-up time point. The between-group difference in reduction of depressive symptoms was significant at 6 months (P <.05) but not at 3 months (P =.38). Similarly, anxiety symptoms were significantly reduced in the MB group compared with the control group at 6 months (P <.01), although not at 3 months. No significant between-group differences were observed for mood regulation, engagement in pleasant activities, or decentering across the time points. However, the MB group indicated an increase in perceived social support from baseline to 6 months follow-up compared with the control group (P <.05).

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Randomization of the home visiting programs indicated higher efficacy of the MB 1-on-1 technique compared with standard home visits. These data may be helpful in developing targeted interventions for women at risk for postpartum depression.


Tandon SD, Ward EA, Hamil JL, Jimenez C, Carter M. Perinatal depression prevention through home visitation: a cluster randomized trial of mothers and babies 1-on-1 [published online May 15, 2018]. J Behav Med. doi: 10.1007/s10865-018-9934-7