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ObjectiveWe examined whether prenatal mindfulness training was associated with lower depressive symptoms through 18‐months postpartum compared to treatment as usual (TAU). Method A controlled, quasi‐experimental trial compared prenatal mindfulness training (MMT) to TAU. We collected depressive symptom data at post‐intervention, 6‐, and 18‐months postpartum. Latent profile analysis identified depressive symptom profiles, and multinomial logistic regression examined whether treatment condition predicted profile. Results Three depressive symptom severity profiles emerged: none/minimal, mild, and moderate. Adjusting for relevant covariates, MMT participants were less likely than TAU participants to be in the moderate profile than the none/minimal profile (OR = 0.13, 95% CI = 0.03‐0.54, p = .005). Conclusions Prenatal mindfulness training may have benefits for depressive symptoms during the transition to parenthood.
The science of meditation has grown tremendously in the last two decades. Most studies have focused on evaluating the clinical effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions, neural and other physiological correlates of meditation, and individual cognitive and emotional aspects of meditation. Far less research has been conducted on more challenging domains to measure, such as group and relational, transpersonal and mystical, and difficult aspects of meditation; anomalous or extraordinary phenomena related to meditation; and post-conventional stages of development associated with meditation. However, these components of meditation may be crucial to people’s psychological and spiritual development, could represent important mediators and/or mechanisms by which meditation confers benefits, and could themselves be important outcomes of meditation practices. In addition, since large numbers of novices are being introduced to meditation, it is helpful to investigate experiences they may encounter that are not well understood. Over the last four years, a task force of meditation researchers and teachers met regularly to develop recommendations for expanding the current meditation research field to include these important yet often neglected topics. These meetings led to a cross-sectional online survey to investigate the prevalence of a wide range of experiences in 1120 meditators. Results show that the majority of respondents report having had many of these anomalous and extraordinary experiences. While some of the topics are potentially controversial, they can be subjected to rigorous scientific investigation. These arenas represent largely uncharted scientific terrain and provide excellent opportunities for both new and experienced researchers. We provide suggestions for future directions, with accompanying online materials to encourage such research.