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Table 1 Summary of the findings from the systematic reviews and the theory underpinning the intervention components

From: Developing a complex intervention to support pregnant women with mild to moderate anxiety: application of the Medical Research Council framework


Women’s views on intervention components


Group and individual interventions

 Interventions delivered to groups of pregnant women

• Able to share experiences

• Accessed group support

• Reduced feelings of isolation

• Helped to normalise women’s experiences

• Social support

 °Experiential knowledge

 °Social learning

 °Social comparison

 °Peer support

 Interventions delivered to individuals

• Received support from HCPs

• Provided reassurance and guidance

• Therapeutic relationships

 °Collaborative role theory

 °Relational continuity

 °Social influence

Intervention components


• Provided options and coping strategies for managing anxiety symptoms

• Learned breathing and relaxation techniques

• Learned to recognise and adapt to anxious thoughts

• Felt more positive about the future

• Awareness, self-regulation and adapted behaviour

• Relaxation response


• Developed an understanding of the causes of anxiety in their lives and self-awareness of their thought patterns.

• Helped women respond in a more positive way to situations and feelings, before negative thought patterns could escalate.

• Cognitive behavioural mechanisms