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Matern Health Neonatol Perinatol. 2019 Aug 22;5:14. doi: 10.1186/s40748-019-0109-5. eCollection 2019.

How effective is the early support program Babylotse-Plus for psychosocially burdened mothers and their infants? A comparative intervention study.

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1Department of Obstetrics, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, 10098 Berlin, Germany.
2Department of Neonatology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, 10098 Berlin, Germany.
3Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, 10098 Berlin, Germany.
4Institute of Clinical Epidemiology and Biometry, University of Wuerzburg, 97070 Wuerzburg, Germany.
5Institute for Health Resort Medicine and Health Promotion, Bavarian Health and Food Safety Authority, 97688 Bad Kissingen, Germany.



Our aim was to examine the effects of an early perinatal prevention program offered to mothers and families suffering from significant psychosocial burden.


All mothers giving birth in a Berlin university hospital during Jan-Aug 2013 were screened with a standardized 27-item questionnaire by trained staff. Mothers with a screening-score ≥ 3, who were not enrolled in other public support programs, were defined as psychosocially burdened. They received a detailed needs assessment and were followed up with counseling. When necessary, affected mothers were voluntarily guided through to specialized 'early support' institutions during the 12-month-intervention period. The historical control group (care-as-usual) consisted of children born at the same hospital the year before.At 12 months postnatally, we interviewed mothers in both groups to assess their stress burden and coping skills by Parenting Stress Index and assessed the current childcare condition. Differences between the groups were compared by multivariable logistic regression analyses adjusting for potential confounders.


The intervention group and the control group included 225 and 157 families, respectively. After 12-months, mothers in the 'early support' intervention group had significantly less often depression (adjusted odds ratio 0.25, 95%-confidence interval 0.07-0.94), less often a disturbed relationship with the parenting partner (0.34, 0.10-1.14) and reported reduced stress due to the child's demands (0.40, 0.15-1.10) compared to the control group. Childcare indicators did not differ between the 2 groups.


In mothers at high psychosocial risk, the 'early support' intervention program Babylotse-Plus seemed to reduce the occurrence of depression and several stress indicators in the first postnatal year.


Child welfare; Early support; Infants; Intervention study; Maternal depression; Parenting Stress Index; Postnatal depression; Prevention; Psychosocial risk

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interestsNone of the authors declared a competing interest in relation to this manuscript.

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