Trials Open for Recruitment

Beating the Blues before Birth

Pregnant and feeling low? Welcome to the Beating the Blues before Birth (BBB) study for depression in pregnancy.

You have taken a positive step towards improving your mood and managing the demands of pregnancy.

If you take part in this study you will receive a full telephone assessment with a psychologist to understand how you are feeling. If you are eligible for this study we will connect you with your GP for management or offer you psychological treatment free of charge. As this is a research study this selection will be randomly made. There will also be some questionnaires, and you will be reimbursed for your time completing them. The aim of the study is to look at the benefits of PIRI’s evidence-based cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for the mother and baby.

Your participation is highly valued and will help advancing research.

What sort of help will I get by joining this study?

  • you will receive a clinical assessment and 8 free sessions of CBT delivered by a psychologist via telehealth (to learn more about our evidence-based treatment please read below).


  • you will receive a clinical assessment with a psychologist and will be encouraged to see your GP and/or other health professionals for best-care management.

Can I choose which help I get?

  • you will be randomly allocated to one of the two study groups mentioned above (i.e., CBT or referral to your GP/another health professional)
  • as this is a research project you will not be able to choose which group you will be in
  • participation in both groups is highly valuable for successfully conducting the study

Who is the study suitable for?

As this study is designed to specifically address depression, we have some guidelines about who can take part. After the study we would hope to offer this program more widely to those who need it. The study is suitable for women who are:

  • experiencing depression (based on our clinical assessment)
  • less than 30 weeks pregnant
  • over 18 years of age
  • fluent in English
  • giving permission to disclose the results of the clinical assessment with their health professional (i.e., GP, midwife or obstetrician)

Who is the study not suitable for?

As this is a structured psychological treatment program for depression it has some limitations in the type of care it is able to provide. Unfortunately, this study is not for you if you are currently:

  • receiving medication for your depression and anxiety
  • receiving psychological treatment
  • feeling suicidal
  • experiencing family or domestic violence and are not feeling safe at home
  • relying heavily drugs or alcohol to cope
  • diagnosed with bipolar or other serious psychiatric disorders

Other options may be more suitable for women who are not able to be included in this research study at present. We have listed some alternative supports and encourage you to seek help, click here.

What will happen after you register for the study?

  • you will be contacted by the project manager to book in a telephone assessment with the study psychologist to determine whether the study is suitable for you
  • during the telephone assessment you will be asked some questions about your mood and mental health

What else will happen after I join the study?

  • you will be asked to complete questionnaires at 4 time points with the last follow-up carried out at 2 years after your child is born as we will also be following on your child’s development
  • you will receive $20 for every time you will complete the follow-up questionnaires

Beating the Blues Before Birth

The study is funded by the NHMRC and is ethically approved by Austin Health. The Parent-Infant Research Institute is an information partner of Head to Health.

The BBB program was developed by the Parent-Infant Research Institute as a treatment for depression in pregnancy. This program is based on PIRI’s evaluated treatment for Postnatal Depression and includes features from other PIRI programs. Our recent studies show the effectiveness of BBB in reducing depression and anxiety during pregnancy and in improving child developmental outcomes.

Milgrom, J., Holt, C., Holt, C.J., Ross, J., Ericksen, J., & Gemmill, A. (2015). A Feasibility Study and Pilot Randomised Trial of an Antenatal Depression Treatment with Infant Follow-up. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 18(5):717-30. Milgrom,  J., Holt, C.J., Bleker, L.S., Holt, C., Ross, J., Ericksen,  J., Glover, V., O’Donnell, K.J., de Rooij, S. R., & Gemmill , A.W. (2018). Maternal antenatal mood and child development: an exploratory study of treatment effects on child outcomes up to 5 years. Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease.


DadBooster is designed to help new dads recover from depression.

The Parent-Infant Research Institute (PIRI) are working on a world-first specialised web-based treatment called DadBooster for fathers who are experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Our DadBooster study is open for recruitment. To find out more and join the study, click the link below.