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Coronavirus: 69% of respondents reported COVID-19 mental distress during pregnancy: Survey

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Approximately 70% of those who become pregnant in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic report moderate to high levels of mental distress, and 1 in 5 experience symptoms of depression, according to data from a 2020 survey. doing.

The findings, led by a Unity Health Toronto clinician, are as follows: Published in Canadian Family Physician magazine on Tuesday..

Researchers conducted an online survey from May to June 2020, with responses from approximately 1,500 participants, 87% of whom were Canadians who were pregnant or had just given birth. Nearly 69% of respondents reported moderate to high levels of distress and 20% reported depressive symptoms.

Dr. Taribogler, lead author of research at St. Michael’s Hospital and chair of the Department of Family Medicine and Obstetrics, contributed to the anxiety of many in the early stages of the pandemic, uncertain about the COVID-19 infection and the implementation of new social restrictions. Said.

However, Bogler added that stress levels “maintain high levels” as the pandemic progresses.

“The cause of concern has changed … but the demand for perinatal mental health remains very high,” she said. “And it shows that there is still a high level of distress.”

According to the survey, the biggest concern in the early stages of a pandemic pregnancy was the hospital’s policy regarding supporters during labor. I can’t introduce my new baby to my loved ones; I get sick with COVID-19 during pregnancy; I can’t rely on my family and friends for post-labor support.

Some of these concerns continue 18 months later, according to Bogler, including the lack of face-to-face prenatal lessons to provide social support to pregnant people. However, new concerns have also emerged.

According to Bogler, some of her patients have recently expressed concern about the more contagious delta mutant and may not be able to get support from unvaccinated families. There is.

“The heart of this is that it’s not just the unknowns of COVID-19 that were first revealed,” Bogler said. “It is (missing) that all the support systems that perinatal people have always depended on have had such an impact on this particular cohort.”

This study did not compare the mental distress of pregnant people to the mental distress of the general population, but examined studies that focused on pre-pandemic mental health during pregnancy.

A new study showed a dramatic increase compared to the pre-COVID Japanese sample, suggesting that 28.4 to 32.3 percent of the pregnant population reported at least moderate psychological distress.

“What our study really emphasizes is that there are all these different areas of the transition period during pregnancy, and the pandemic really influenced them all,” said Zhou of Women’s College Hospital. Dr. Lucy Barker, a perinatal psychiatrist and co-author of the study, said.

“Pregnant people have experienced a lot of uncertainty and a lot of stress regarding access to health care, postnatal support and family support. These different areas.”

Bogler said she and her team came up with the idea of ​​creating an online survey after setting up an Instagram account (@pandemicpregnancyguide) early in the COVID-19 crisis. With the intention of addressing some of the major concerns that obstetricians were hearing from patients, the account motivated Bogler to “formulate people’s concerns and study them appropriately.”

Bogler said he wasn’t shocked by the findings because he heard a lot of mental health concerns from pregnant patients early on.

“But I was (surprised) to hear how high the level of pain was,” she said. “It’s one thing to hear and feel, but it was actually scary to see the numbers confirm it that way.

“Even if you know it’s there, it’s uneasy to see that confirmation.”

Mental distress during pregnancy can have “downstream effects” on babies before and after childbirth, according to Bogler, and those experiencing perinatal depression develop postnatal mental illness. You are more likely to suffer.

She said it can be difficult to know if anxiety results from a typical baby’s pre-sway or something more serious, especially during the first pregnancy.

According to Bogler, your doctor is in a position to support perinatal mental health and provide treatment such as counseling and psychiatric appointments as needed.

“People tend to say’this is normal’, which is often attributed to normal pregnancy hormones … but it’s you, your sleep, your relationships, you who work at work. The moment I begin to influence my abilities, I will benefit from talking to anyone I think. “

“It’s a very vulnerable time, and there’s growing concern about pandemics, so I think we need more help.”

This report by Canadian Press was first published on September 14, 2021.

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