Evaluating HUGS mother-infant intervention in France

Evaluating HUGS mother-infant intervention in France

PIRI’s collaboration with the University Hospital Center of Toulouse is evaluating HUGS mother-infant intervention in France

The Parent-Infant Research Institute (PIRI) is recognised internationally for its leading-edge research into perinatal depression and anxiety and translating research to practice. For more than 21 years, the passion of the PIRI team has extended the reach of its evidence-based programs, not only across Australia but also internationally.

The latest collaboration with the University Hospital Center of Toulouse in France will evaluate PIRI’s successful HUGS mother-infant intervention program via a project known as “Early intervention to protect the mother-infant relationship after postpartum depression: a randomized controlled trial of the HUGS cognitive behavioural therapy program,” led by Dr Carole Gentilleau.

Dr Gentilleau, a French Psychiatrist, visited Australia in 2018 for a 6-month research traineeship with PIRI. During this time, she conducted a sub-analysis for a randomised controlled trial that evaluated PIRI’s HUGS mother-Infant intervention (Holt et al., 2021).

Postnatal depression (PND) disrupts the crucial mother-infant relationship on which optimal child development depends. However, few well-evaluated, brief mother-infant interaction interventions exist. HUGS is a 4-session targeted cognitive behavioural therapy intervention focused on improving the quality of the mother-infant relationship following postnatal depression treatment. PIRI’s randomised controlled trial (RCT) aimed to evaluate the effect of this 4-session, group-based mother-infant interaction intervention.

Following her visit in 2018, Dr Gentilleau has secured important funding to replicate PIRI’s research trial and evaluate the HUGS program across seven hospital maternity wards in France. The project will include 104 clinically depressed mothers and their babies and aims to evaluate the efficacy of HUGS compared with a control playgroup, both following cognitive-behavioural therapy for PND.

PIRI’s Professor Jeannette Milgrom and Dr Tamsin Kane are now training 15 French Health Professionals to deliver the HUGS program in France. The comprehensive training program is being delivered online following translation of the HUGS manual to French.

PIRI is committed to improving perinatal mental health and early parent-infant relationships and is excited to see the HUGS intervention being adopted internationally.

Regardless of where people live, or what country they call home, accessible evidence-based care is vital if we are to reduce the immediate and long-term impact on not only women but on their partners, children, and families.

Holt, C., Gentilleau, C., Gemmill, A.W., Milgrom, J. (2021) Improving the mother-infant relationship following postnatal depression: A randomised controlled trial of a brief intervention (HUGS). Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 24 (6), 913-923. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00737-021-01116-5