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COVID-19 may deepen depression, anxiety, and PTSD among pregnant women

By: Team Ifairer | Posted: 03-12-2020
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COVID-19 may deepen depression, anxiety, and PTSD among pregnant women
COVID-19 may deepen depression, anxiety, and PTSD among pregnant women, covid-19 may deepen depression,  anxiety,  and ptsd among pregnant women,
In a new study published in Psychiatry Review, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital surveyed pregnant women and those who had recently given birth, finding concerning rates of depression, generalized anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, which were found to be exacerbated by COVID-19-related grief and health worries.

"We know the perinatal period is already a time in which women are particularly vulnerable to mental health concerns," said corresponding author Cindy Liu, Ph.D., of the Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine and the Department of Psychiatry. "We primarily wanted to see what factors related to the pandemic might be associated with mental health symptoms."

The researchers launched the Perinatal Experiences and COVID-19 Effects Study (PEACE) to better understand the mental health and well-being of pregnant and postpartum individuals within the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among 1,123 of these women surveyed between May 21 and August 17, 2020, the researchers found that more than 1-in-3 (36.4 percent) reported clinically significant levels of depression. Before the pandemic, rates of perinatal depression (depression occurring during or after pregnancy) were generally considered to be 15-20 percent.

Furthermore, 1-in-5 (22.7 percent) reported clinically significant levels of generalized anxiety, and 1-in-10 (10.3 percent) reported symptoms above the clinical threshold for PTSD. In particular, the researchers found that approximately 9 percent of participants reported feeling a strong sense of grief, loss, or disappointment as a result of the pandemic.

This group was roughly five times more likely to experience clinically significant measures of mental health symptoms. More respondents (18 percent) reported being "very worried" or "extremely worried" about COVID-19-related health risks. This group was up to over four times more likely to experience clinically significant psychiatric symptoms.

The researchers recruited participants for the PEACE survey primarily via word-of-mouth, using posts on email lists and in social media groups. They noted that as a result, the sample population was fairly homogenous: 89.9 percent were white, 92.1 percent were at least college-educated, and 98 percent were living with their spouse or partner. The household income for 45 percent of the participants was over USD 150,000.
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