Maternal Well-Being Study FAQs

MBCT watercolor

What is MBCT?

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a skills-based intervention, meaning it is focused on developing new coping skills and strategies. In MBCT, you learn new skills to recognize thoughts and feelings and understand how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors affect each other.

MBCT also includes mindfulness skills. Mindfulness is a type of skill that involves learning to focus your attention on what is happening in the moment without judgement.

MBCT group sessions include:

  • education related to depressive symptoms and depression
  • review of mindfulness activities done during the week and anything that made it hard to complete the activities
  • presentation and discussion of mindfulness and coping skills
  • practicing mindfulness and coping skills in session

You will be asked to do some activities, or “homework,” in between the group sessions, which includes practicing new skills learned in the group and completing an electronic log of when you did these activities.

The groups run for 8 consecutive weeks, each lasting 2 hours. Each group will have up to 8 women in the group.

MBCT - depression

When will the groups be?

Groups will likely occur on a weekday evening. The exact day and time of the groups will be determined later, and we will try to pick a day and time that is the best for people.

Can you pay for my transportation?

Researchers will provide you with courtesy parking. If you need assistance getting to your visits, researchers will provide bus fare or arrange for other transportation.

Which group will I be randomized to?

Your participation could involve 8 MBCT groups during pregnancy or a single psychoeducation course 6-9 months postpartum. You have 50/50 odds of being randomized to either group.

Person in MRI

What does the MRI Session entail?

You will be asked to complete a MRI scanning session 6 weeks after your baby is born.

During the MRI, you will lie quietly inside the center of a large, doughnut shaped magnet for about 70 minutes. You will be made as comfortable as possible by padding the neck, shoulders, head, and knees with special pillows. While in the scanner, your will do three different tasks.

Are MRIs safe? 

MRI scanning is a noninvasive process that uses a large magnet to take pictures of the brain. It is painless and does not involve X-ray radiation. MRI does not involve any radiation, sedation or injections and is safe for all ages. 

Patients with heart pacemakers, metal implants, or metal chips or clips in or around the eyes cannot be scanned with MRI because of the effect of the magnet which is why we check for metal multiple times.

There are no known side effects of an MRI scan. The benefits of an MRI scan are in allowing use to visualize the structure and blood flow within the brain.

Pregnant silhouette

Who is eligible to participate?

You may be eligible to participate in the Maternal Well-Being Study if:

  • You are between 8-22 week pregnant
  • You are between 21 and 45 years old
  • You have no unremovable metal (except titanium) in your body

You may receive up to $385 for completing the study.

To learn more about this study or to see if you may be eligible to participate, call the SCAN Lab at (503) 494 - 4476, or e-mail