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Mothers and Babies

The Mothers and Babies Course is a preventive, mood-management course for pregnant women and mothers in the first 12 months postpartum who are at high risk for perinatal depression. The course teaches perinatal women cognitive-behavioral mood regulation strategies, in which their thoughts, behaviors, and social contacts affect their mood and vice versa. It also explains the benefits of strengthening mother–infant bonds. The overall goals are to prevent perinatal depression, strengthen the mother–infant relationship, and enhance both the mother’s and the infant’s mental and physical health.

The course was developed in the early 1980s and was adapted from the Depression Prevention Course and the Group Cognitive Behavioral Treatment manuals. The course is based on a combination of the reality-management approach, the cognitive–behavioral approach, and the attachment model for child development. The course is designed to target socio-cultural issues affecting low-income and culturally diverse communities. It is recommended for women who are 12 to 24 weeks pregnant and who do not meet the criteria for a major depressive episode at the time of enrollment.

The course can be delivered over 6, 8, or 12 weeks; it can be conducted in individual or group settings, or through home visits. Each class is 2 hours and covers topics such as bonding with children before birth, developing and strengthening the emotional bond following birth, effective parenting techniques for attachment, and the relationships between disruptions in attachment and depression. Individual client booster sessions are also available. These sessions review key material from the course and address any concerns that mothers may have after childbirth.

The home visitation version of the course condenses the 6-week course material into 15 sessions, which last 15 to 20 minutes each. Each of the home visit sessions covers two topics in the course curriculum and one activity for clients to complete before the next session.

Accepted to the Portfolio: August 2016

This is an evidence-based program!

Target Outcomes

Short Term Outcomes

  • Decreased perinatal depression
  • Increased mood regulation
  • Strengthened mother-infant bonds

Long Term Outcomes

  • Reduced depression and depressive symptoms. 
  • Improved personal resilience/self-concept.

Target Population

Demographics

  • Early Childhood (0 - 5)
  • Adult (25 - 60)

Service Area

County-wide:

  • Southeast (District 1)
  • Southwest (District 2)
  • Central (District 3)
  • Northeast (District 4)
  • Northwest (District 5)



    Program Implementers

    The following organizations implement this program locally:

    California Parenting Institute

     Child Parent Institute

    Program Funders

    Many thanks to the following funders for making this program possible.

    Local Funders

    • First 5 Sonoma County
    • St Joseph's Community Foundation
    • Sonoma County Department of Health Services