Hoivaa ja Leiki / Nurture and Play



Parental Prenatal Mental Health is important

Mental health problems in pre- and postpartum period have comprehensively negative consequences on mothers, infants and their dyadic interaction. Maternal depressive symptoms during pregnancy form a heightened risk for fetal development, newborn health, as well as for infants’ cognitive, socio-emotional and psychomotor development (Field, 2011, 2017; Gentile, 2017; Kingston, Tough, & Whitfield, 2012).

Nurture and Play – a preventive program

Nurture and Play (NaP) is a short-term (about 8 meetings), preventive parent-child intervention. It aims   at reducing the negative impact of depressive/anxious symptoms on mothers, infants and their dyadic interaction and at strengthening reflective skills to enhance future mental health and optimal emotional interaction. Each NaP session aims to strengthen both the emotional and experiential (how the baby is felt, what can be perceived through bodily emotional and somatosensory cues) as well as imaginary (mentalized) relationship with the baby. Each session structure is manualized and the activities are done in a specific order to help the interventionist to keep all the targets in mind in each session. Homework was used to facilitate change between the sessions. NaP can be done in a group-setting or with individual families, and it usually starts prenatally.

The effectiveness of NaP Group format has been tested in a RCT designs (Salo et al., 2018).

Field, T. (2011). Prenatal depression effects on early development: A review. Infant Behavior and Development, 34, 1-14.

Field, T. (2017). Prenatal depression risk factors, developmental effects and interventions: A review. Journal of pregnancy and child health, 4(1), 301.

Gentile, S. (2017). Untreated depression during pregnancy: Short-and long-term effects in offspring. A systematic review. Neuroscience, 342, 154-166.

Salo, S., Flykt, M., et al., (2018). The effectiveness of the Nurture and Play intervention: A RCT study. Submitted.