Maternal Mental Health Research Collaborative
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Featured Study: Comparing the Effectiveness of Clinicians and Home Visitors to Reduce Disparities in Perinatal Depression

Name of study

Comparing the Effectiveness of Clinicians and Home Visitors to Reduce Disparities in Perinatal Depression, i.e., Which Kind of Home Visiting Programs Provide the Best Outcomes for Mothers with Postpartum Depression?

Brief description of study

Studies show that low-income pregnant women are at a higher risk for developing postpartum depression than middle or high-income women. They are also less likely to access mental health services due to stigma and lack of resources in the community.

This study will be looking at whether mental health services delivered to pregnant women in their home by home visitors could help prevent and reduce symptoms of postpartum depression. No evidence-based intervention by home visitors currently exists. Home visits by home visitors (instead of nurses) are most common in the U.S.

Researchers will be looking at whether home visitors delivering the Mothers and Babies Course (MB) in the homes of pregnant women at risk for developing for postpartum depression could be a low-cost, viable option to help prevent or reduce depression symptoms in these women. Participants will be enrolled in one of two groups. Some will be visited by a home visitor who will deliver the MB course. Others will receive the current standard of care which is a visit by a home visitor without access to the MB course.

Researchers will be looking at whether the MB course delivered by home visitors produces better results than usual care; whether the MB course is best delivered by mental health clinicians or a home visitors; whether the success of the mode of delivery of the MB course varies according to race, ethnicity, whether the woman is a first-time mother, and/or urban versus rural locations; and the overall feasibility and acceptability of the MB course. Researchers will use various questionnaires to measure results.

Why you might want to participate

If you are pregnant and at risk for postpartum depression, you might want to participate in this study that may provide you with access to the MB course in your home, one-on- one by a trained home visitor. There is no guarantee that enrollment in the study will prevent or reduce postpartum depression symptoms. However it’s worth considering especially if you lack mental health resources in your community and/or if you prefer trying therapy versus taking medication.

The course follows the cognitive behavioral therapy model. This type of therapy teaches women how to manage their own mood by learning how to modify their thinking and behavior. This study might be the only way for you to receive publicly funded therapy in your location. It’s also convenient to have a home visitor come to you rather than having to find your way to a location to participate in the MB course. Researchers are looking for 1680 women to participate in the study.

Type of study

Cluster randomized trial


Chicago, Illinois, United States

Trial sponsor

  • Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute
  • Northwestern University

Participant criteria

  • Must be pregnant and at least 16 years old
  • Must not have high risk medical and pregnancy conditions
  • Must speak English or Spanish

For more information about this study and how to enroll, visit our partner Clara Health by clicking here.

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