Mental distress during COVID 19 pregnancies
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In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, data from a 2020 survey indicated that about 70% of women who were pregnant experienced moderate to high levels of mental suffering, with one in five feeling depression. Research conducted by Unity Health Toronto clinicians was published in the Canadian Family Physician journal.
Nearly 1,500 Canadian women who were either pregnant or had just given birth took part in the survey, which was conducted online from May to June 2020. The majority of responders (69%) expressed moderate to severe distress, with 20% experiencing depressive symptoms.
Some of the pandemic’s first sufferers were concerned about COVID-19 transmission and the introduction of new social constraints, Dr. Tali Bogler stated in an interview. As the epidemic has advanced, stress levels have “kept a high level,” says Bogler.
Perinatal mental health remains in great demand, despite the fact that the causes of worry have shifted. “And it’s an indication that people are still in a lot of pain.”
Early pandemic pregnancy was plagued by a lack of support from family and friends, as well as the risk of contracting COVID-19 while pregnant, according to a study of women who had just given birth.
Bogler noted that 18 months later, some of those issues are still relevant, as the absence of in-person prenatal programs that provide pregnant women with social support. However, new issues have arisen.
Some of her patients have raised concerns lately about the more easily transmitted Delta strain and the lack of support from family members who have not been vaccinated, according to Bogler.
It’s not simply the mystery of COVID-19 that’s at the center of this, as Bogler put it. A lack of perinatal care services has had a significant influence on this specific cohort, according to the author.
Pregnancy-related mental health problems were not compared with the general population’s mental health problems in this study. However, research done before the pandemic was examined.
There was a dramatic increase in the number of pregnant women reporting at least moderate levels of mental anguish, as compared to pre-COVID Japanese samples, in the current research.
As a perinatal psychiatrist at Women’s College Hospital, Dr. Lucy Barker, explains, “The pandemic really touched all of these various domains that are transition stages throughout pregnancy.”
“With regard to health care, post-natal assistance, and family support, pregnant people were feeling anxious and apprehensive. There is a need to help individuals in all these various areas because of this multifaceted effect.”
After putting up an Instagram account in the early days of the COVID-19 situation, Bogler and her team came up with the idea to develop an online poll. The narrative prompted Bogler to “formalize people’s worries and research them thoroughly” in order to address some of the primary problems obstetricians were hearing from patients.
Bogler said she wasn’t surprised by the survey findings since she had heard so many mental health problems from pregnant patients early on.
Nonetheless, she remarked, “I was (surprised) to hear how high the distress levels were.” To have it confirmed in figures like that was a little unnerving, to say the least.
The confirmation of it, even if you know it’s there, is unnerving.
Mental anguish during pregnancy may have “downstream consequences” on the infant before delivery and after birth and people who experience perinatal depression are more likely to have a post-partum mental disorder.
You may not know whether your worry is due to the normal prenatal nerves or something more significant, she added, particularly during your first pregnancy.
As a resource for perinatal mental health, family doctors, according to Bogler, may provide anything from therapy to psychiatric visits.
According to the author, “People frequently assume that ‘Oh this is normal’ and often ascribe it to normal pregnant hormones, but I believe the minute that it begins harming you. I think everyone would benefit from speaking to someone.”
“At a time when the epidemic is causing greater anxiety, I believe there is a pressing need for more resources.“