The History of MBCP

The Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting Program (MBCP) was developed by Nancy Bardacke, a certified nurse-midwife and mindfulness teacher. The program is a formal adaptation of the pioneering Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program founded in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.


Nancy had often seen the extraordinary time of pregnancy and birth clouded by fear and stress - fear of the birthing process itself and the stress of the journey into the unknown. Reflecting on her midwifery experiences, her own longtime meditation practice and her training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Nancy set her intention to bring the life skill of mindfulness – “the awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally” – that is cultivated through meditation practice to expectant parents. Her hope was that through mindfulness they might find a way to decrease stress during pregnancy, ease the pain of childbirth and find a foundation for parenting with compassion, awareness, connectedness and kindness. With this in mind, she set out to adapt the MBSR program to meet the needs of expectant parents.


Nancy has now taught 70 sessions of the core MBCP courses to more than 1350 expectant parents over the past 15 years, as well as offered numerous workshops and trainings for both expectant parents and health care professionals. She has been both deeply moved and heartened by the experiences participants report: that learning mindfulness during pregnancy brings benefits well beyond what could have been imagined for decreasing stress and for the ability to work with any birth experience that might arise. After giving birth, new parents express great appreciation for the mindfulness skills which continue to serve them in the intensely joyful and sometimes stressful weeks, months and even years, after their baby has been born as well as the community of support of that often continues among the parents well beyond early parenting.


As interest in the MBCP program grew, Nancy took on the challenge of capturing this work in written form, leading to the publication of Mindful Birthing: Training the Mind, Body and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond (HarperCollins, 2012; foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn). Wanting to offer the benefits of the program beyond the Bay Area, Nancy began training MBCP instructors. Maggie Bolton and Becca Calhoun, the NW MBCP teachers, participated in one of Nancy's earliest MBCP Teacher Training Programs. Interest in the program continues to grow with healthcare professionals from many parts of the world seeking training from Nancy to bring MBCP to their communities. 

To learn more about Nancy Bardacke and her work, please visit:


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