School of Psychology, University of Waikato
Positively pregnant: Applying the principles of positive psychology to a promote resilience and well-being in pregnancy
Pregnancy is a time of enormous change, physically and psychologically, for budding parents. They are faced with cascades of information, advice, and decisions, and although this can be exciting and joyful, it can also be daunting and sometimes overwhelming. There are opportunities for reflection and change of health and lifestyle habits, with new motivation and perspective on the future. There is also risk, and a sometimes exaggerated focus on the potential ramifications of negative physical and psychological experiences during gestation. We have developed and tested a mobile phone app, Positively Pregnant (PP), which provides an interactive, individualized programme for helping women and their partners to meet the challenges of pregnancy and transition to parenthood. The focus of PP is on strengths, resources, and strategies, taking stock of stressors, and using the time during pregnancy to assess, reflect, and develop plans for emotional and physical wellbeing. It includes core strategies from the positive psychology literature (e.g., gratitude journaling, recognising and acting on strengths and values, meditation, creativity) as well as theory and research around the role of perceived control and effective stress management. This presentation will provide a guided tour of PP, and present some findings from a pilot study in which 88 New Zealand women used the app.
Carrie Cornsweet Barber is a clinical psychologist with a special interest in perinatal mental health and the transition to parenting. Carrie is senior lecturer and director of the postgraduate diploma in clinical psychology at the University of Waikato, and board member of Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Aotearoa.