Nurse-Midwifery M.S.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Vingers, Julie Ann


Background/Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to critically examine the literature in order to identify whether there are non-pharmacologic antenatal interventions that are effective in reducing or preventing postpartum depression. Theoretical Framework: Cheryl Beck’s theory, Teetering on the Edge: A Substantive Theory of Postpartum Depression, was the theoretical framework used in this paper. Beck’s theory was based on 18 months of studying women with postpartum depression from symptom onset thru the recovery process. During her research, Beck identified four stages to describe the progression of postpartum depression: Encountering terror, dying of self, struggling to survive, and regaining control. Methods: Twenty research articles were critically reviewed with the purpose of determining whether there are non-pharmaceutical interventions that can be offered in the prenatal period to reduce or eliminate the risk for postpartum depression. Results/Findings: Significant reductions in postpartum depression were found when at-risk women were provided with the following interventions: Cognitive behavioral therapy, group, and individual psychotherapies. Both mindfulness training and yoga interventions provided positive results for the participants. However, they failed to reach statistical significance. Conclusion: The pertinent findings of this critical review were the validity of antenatal psychosocial, cognitive behavioral, and interpersonal therapies to reduce the risk for postpartum depression. Implications for Research and Practice: Nurse-midwives have the opportunity and responsibility to foster maternal well being by being aware of interventions that are beneficial, in addition to how to access them, for pregnant women with depression symptoms. Employing methods of early screening, identification, and intervention practices for those mothers at risk for experiencing depressive symptoms has the potential to decrease the burden of the disease for women and their families.

Degree Name

M.S. Nurse-Midwifery

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis