Maybe Mum

For all the Maybe Mums out there wondering whether motherhood is for them

Engaged partner; fewer depressive symptoms in pregnant women

Engaged partner; fewer depressive symptoms in pregnant women

Research by Myrthe Boekhorst indicates that having an engaged partner during pregnancy reduces depressive symptoms in pregnant women. Late 2020 she conducted this research. This is an interesting study that can be beneficial for many women who have doubts.

Changes in pregnant or postpartum women

First, the less positive news. About 1 in 5 women experience various significant changes during pregnancy and after childbirth. These changes can be both physical, emotional, and social. They may develop depression, anxiety, and/or stress symptoms. Partner involvement and mindfulness can help in this regard.

Longitudinal study of women in the HAPPY research

Myrthe Boekhorst investigated the mental health of women at the onset of parenthood in the HAPPY research (Holistic Approach to Pregnancy and the First Postpartum Year). Specifically, she looked into the risk and protective factors of psychological symptoms. The women were followed from pregnancy to their children’s toddler years and completed various (online) questionnaires at different times regarding depressive symptoms, stress, mindfulness, and partner support.

Partner involvement

An important finding: partner involvement can play a significant role in a woman’s mental health during the transition to parenthood. The partner can also be a protective factor against depressive symptoms during pregnancy.


For a subgroup of 500 women, the researcher examined the ‘parenting burden’ up to 3 years after childbirth using a Randomized Controlled Trial design. Women who reported a high parenting burden were randomly divided into two groups. One group received a mindful parenting training via the internet, while the other served as the control group. Conclusion: women with certain mindfulness skills experienced less parenting burden 3 to 4 years after childbirth. It was also found that mindfulness training had a positive effect on mothers’ mental health.

Bipolar disorder – poorer attachment to child

In another project, conducted in collaboration with Erasmus MC Rotterdam, Boekhorst also followed pregnant women with bipolar disorder during pregnancy using questionnaires. The HAPPY cohort was used as a control group (healthy pregnant women). It was found that women with bipolar disorder more often reported a poorer attachment to their child compared to a healthy control group.

Myrthe Boekhorst

Myrthe Boekhorst (Weert, 1991) attended high school in Singapore (United World College of South East Asia), obtained her undergraduate degree in Community Psychology from the University of Washington (Bothell, USA), and continued her studies in Leiden, where she obtained her master’s degree in Clinical Child and Adolescent Studies in 2016. In 2017, she began her doctoral research at Máxima MC Eindhoven, Tilburg University, and Erasmus MC Rotterdam. When she did her research she was a postdoctoral researcher at Tilburg University.

Photo – Pexels – gewas-paar-zwangere-buik-met-handen-thuis-aan-te-raken-5424696/ – pexels-amina-filkins-5424696.jpg – My English is not very good, so I’m translating this with the help of Google Translate and ChatGPT.