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Mindful : June 2014
When Nancy Bardacke started teaching Mindfulness- Based Childbirth and Parent- ing (MBCP) 15 years ago, she taught expectant parents in her living room in Oakland, California. They’d sit on fold- ing chairs or her floor. “I tried to teach it in a hospi- tal,” the 71-year-old says, “but it was too out of the box.” Now, what was once too much for the mainstream is gaining a global foothold. Bardacke, a clinical nurse- midwife whose program Mindful featured in a previous issue, is developing MBCP techniques—which help parents cultivate skills for managing pain, stress, and change—for low-income pre- natal group programs at two San Francisco area hospitals. She’s also seeing her book, Mindful Birthing: Training the Mind, Body, and Hear t for Childbirth and Beyond, trans- lated into Dutch, German, French, and Turkish, and a Mindfulness for Pregnancy app available from iTunes. Bardacke’s big push is developing MBCP profes- sional teacher training. The program includes a six-day retreat, online work, and men- toring. A recent retreat in Ger- many included 22 midwives, Birthing and Beyond psychologists, and obstetri- cians from nine countries. A recent MBCP retreat in Pet- aluma, California, included 24 participants, all prepping to teach their own MBCP classes to future parents. While Bardacke spreads the gospel of perinatal mindfulness, her original nine-week MBCP course still runs out of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, led by obstetrician Judy Cuneo. Bardacke’s research shows mindfulness decreases depression and anxiety during pregnancy and boosts positive emotions. MBCP is shown to mitigate chronic stress that can result in pre-term birth and low birth weight. More research is coming, including a randomized con- trolled trial in the Netherlands and Hong Kong, both a far cry from Bardacke’s living room. “I feel like what I’m midwif- ing now,” Bardacke says, “is a cer tain state of being.” ● For more resources and repor ting, plus tips from a yoga instructor, go to mindful.org/ mindfulpregnancy Do a tension check. Are you holding your jaw tight? Your neck? Your eyes? Your feet? Ease up and let loose. Find more on Twitter @indinterrupter now 16 mindful June 2014 ©PHOTOBAC/VEER