The experience of being pregnant can bring equal parts happiness and anxiety. According to a study published in Canadian Family Physician, those who were expecting at the time of the 2009 COVID-19 pandemic showed moderate to high levels of discomfort and depression symptoms.
Various facets of the prenatal period have been affected by the pandemic’s many shifts and regions of uncertainty. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, let’s examine the study’s findings in further detail and what they might signify for pregnant women.
An Analysis of the Data
Nearly 1,500 women who were pregnant during the 2009 COVID-19 epidemic responded to an online survey conducted by the researchers. Almost 70% of people who responded were either somewhat or very distressed, and 20% of those people also showed signs of depression.
Cancellation of in-person prenatal seminars and hospital tours was a major source of anxiety for first-time parents. Those expecting a second or third child were most worried about their older child passing on COVID-19. Supporting people in the hospital during labor was another source of stress, as was the potential for developing COVID-19 during pregnancy.
These results match clinical observations. Many first-time and experienced parents have expressed worry over the shifts and uncertainties brought on by the pandemic’s effect on perinatal care and social support.
The study could not compare the distress experienced by pregnant women before and during the pandemic. Unfortunately, the study’s significant distress levels warrant further concern. This emphasizes the significance of providing sufficient assistance to expectant mothers.
Something Must Change
Many novels and sometimes unsettling circumstances were brought about by COVID-19. To be honest, I’m not surprised by the discovery that pregnant women experience increased levels of stress.
Everyday life is already weakened by pregnancy (we feel helpless over our bodies, the health of the baby, etc.), and a global pandemic only makes things worse. It’s natural for expectant mothers to feel extra worried and stressed.
The fact that there has been some inconsistency in the data on COVID-19 and pregnancy hasn’t helped matters. Despite the obvious advantages of vaccination, some people are nevertheless reluctant to get one. Restrictions on who could be present during a woman’s labor caused a lot of stress at the beginning of the pandemic since it made women feel like they had no control over the situation and were less likely to feel safe. Anxiety, disappointment, and worry were normal reactions to the inability to have family or a baby nurse securely assist at home after giving birth.
The inability to safely introduce one’s newborn to loved ones during the pandemic has been very disappointing and heartbreaking for many new parents. Before the COVID-19 epidemic, a baby’s birth commonly brought the family together. Many women now experience a greater sense of isolation and loneliness than before the outbreak.
Women’s incapacity to prepare for childbirth by attending prenatal classes and touring the hospital was also identified to be a source of stress in the study. One simple method to lessen the strain on mothers would be to make these tools available online.
Women can feel cared for and secure if they continue to receive the same number of virtual prenatal visits as they had before the pandemic. Pregnant women can benefit from consistent messaging and communication regarding COVID-19 protocols and research to assist in alleviating their anxiety during the epidemic.
The Implications of This Finding For You
There’s a wide range of feelings a pregnant woman could experience, and not all of them are pleasant. It’s crucial to take care of yourself at this time—eat a well-balanced diet, get plenty of rest and sleep, attempt to exercise frequently, and take your prenatal vitamins.
Talk to your OB/GYN or a therapist if you’re pregnant and suffering anxiety, depression, or other mental health difficulties. A quicker recovery time should be expected if you get assistance as soon as possible.