A systematic narrative review of psychological interventions available in the antenatal period to prepare parents for parenting

Clare Bellhouse, Louise Newman, Jade E. Bilardi, Meredith Temple-Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


The transition to parenthood is a high-risk time in a person’s mental health and requires significant psychological adaptation to incorporate the parental role and creates a unique opportunity for intervention. This period has critical significance for infant development and for the emerging attachment relationship. The aim of this review was to identify and describe the effects of psychological interventions delivered in pregnancy which support the transition to parenthood and prepare parents for early parenting. A search of four key databases for papers published since 2000 identified only 13 eligible publications describing seven interventions. The included interventions involved variable treatment approaches, target outcomes and measures, and while they showed important applications of theoretical knowledge in empirical form, the results were highly mixed and aside from one intervention, were not replicated with a variety of samples over time. There are only a limited number of studies available despite strong theoretical and clinical knowledge which suggests these types of interventions would likely to beneficial and extremely important in preventing significant long-term issues. Significantly more research is needed to determine effective interventions which can be implemented in the antenatal period to prepare first-time parents for parenting and to avoid early relational trauma and attachment difficulties.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalCurrent Psychology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Aug 2021


  • Antenatal
  • Infant
  • Perinatal
  • Psychology
  • Transition to parenthood

Cite this