Covid-19 threatens perinatal mental health

11 January 2021

More than one in three (36.4%) pregnant women and those who had recently given birth reported clinically significant levels of depression between May and August this year.

One in five reported clinically significant levels of generalised anxiety, and one in 10 had symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

These mental health symptoms, found among 1123 perinatal women surveyed, were found to be exacerbated by Covid-19-related grief and health worries, said the study published in Psychiatry Research.

Participants who reported a strong sense of grief, loss or disappointment (9%) due to the pandemic were around five times more likely to experience mental health symptoms. Those reporting high levels of Covid-19 related health worries (18%) were 2.6 to 4.2 times more likely.

Women with pre-existing mental health issues were 1.6 to 3.7 times more likely to have symptoms of depression, anxiety or PTSD.

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