Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is well-established as a treatment for anxiety disorders; however, few studies have examined the efficacy of CBT specifically tailored to address perinatal anxiety. A recent pilot study has explored the use of a group CBT intervention. The group included 10 pregnant or postpartum women who were recruited from a hospital setting and who reported anxiety as their principal source of distress. A diagnostic interview was completed to confirm a primary diagnosis of anxiety disorder.
The participants completed a 6-week CBT program. There was a statistically significant reduction in anxiety and depressive symptoms following completion of the program. Participants also reported high acceptability and satisfaction with this treatment for addressing their symptoms.
While this study is very small and preliminary in nature, these findings suggest that group CBT for perinatal anxiety may be a promising treatment for both anxiety and depressive symptoms during the perinatal period. Future studies will evaluate the efficacy of this intervention through larger controlled trials.
Ruta M. Nonacs, MD PhD
Green SM, et al. Cognitive-behavioral group treatment for perinatal anxiety: a pilot study. Archives of Women’s Mental Health. 2015 Aug; 18(4):631-638.