Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

JMIR Research Protocols






JMIR Publications


School of Medical and Health Sciences




Telethon Kids Institute ORIGINS


Finlay-Jones, A. L., Davis, J. A., O'Donovan, A., Kottampally, K., Silva, D., & Prescott, S. L. (2020). Comparing web-based mindfulness with loving-kindness and compassion training for promoting well-being in pregnancy: Protocol for a three-arm pilot randomized controlled trial. JMIR Research Protocols, 9(10), article e19803.


© Amy Louise Finlay-Jones, Jacqueline Ann Davis, Amanda O'Donovan, Keerthi Kottampally, Rebecca Anne Ashley, Desiree Silva, Jeneva Lee Ohan, Susan L Prescott, Jenny Downs. Originally published in JMIR Research Protocols (, 14.10.2020. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Research Protocols, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included. Background: Promoting psychological well-being and preventing distress among pregnant women is an important public health goal. In addition to adversely impacting the mother’s health and well-being, psychological distress in pregnancy increases the risk of poor pregnancy outcomes, compromises infant socioemotional development and bonding, and heightens maternal and child vulnerability in the postpartum period. Mindfulness and compassion-based interventions show potential for prevention and early intervention for perinatal distress. As there is an established need for accessible, scalable, flexible, and low-cost interventions, there is increased interest in the delivery of these programs on the web. This project aims to pilot a three-arm randomized controlled trial (RCT) to determine the feasibility of a full-scale RCT comparing 2 web-based interventions (mindfulness vs loving-kindness and compassion) with a web-based active control condition (progressive muscle relaxation). Objective: The primary objective of this study is to assess the feasibility of an RCT protocol comparing the 3 conditions delivered on the web as a series of instructional materials and brief daily practices over a course of 8 weeks. The second objective is to explore the experiences of women in the different intervention conditions. The third objective is to estimate SD values for the outcome measures to inform the design of an adequately powered trial to determine the comparative efficacy of the different conditions. Methods: Pregnant women (n=75) participating in a longitudinal birth cohort study (the ORIGINS project) will be recruited to this study from 18 weeks of gestational age. We will assess the acceptability and feasibility of recruitment and retention strategies and the participants’ engagement and adherence to the interventions. We will also assess the experiences of women in each of the 3 intervention conditions by measuring weekly changes in their well-being and engagement with the program and by conducting a qualitative analysis of postprogram interviews. Results: This project was funded in September 2019 and received ethics approval on July 8, 2020. Enrollment to the study will commence in September 2020. Feasibility of a full-scale RCT will be assessed using ADePT (a process for decision making after pilot and feasibility trials) criteria. Conclusions: If the study is shown to be feasible, results will be used to inform future full-scale RCTs. Evidence for flexible, scalable, and low-cost interventions could inform population health strategies to promote well-being and reduce psychological distress among pregnant women.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.