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Psychopathology and COVID-19 Pandemic in the Perinatal Period

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  • Universidade Portucalense Infante D. Henrique (UPIDH)
  • Humanitas San Pio X, Milano
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Introduction/Objectives: National guidelines underscore the need for improvement in the detection and treatment of mood disorders in the perinatal period. Exposure to disasters can amplify perinatal mood disorders and even have intergenerational impacts. The primary aim of this pilot study was to use mixed-methods to better understand the mental health and well-being effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, as well as sources of resilience, among women during the perinatal period. Methods: The study team used a simultaneous exploratory mixed-methods design to investigate the primary objective. Thirty-one pregnant and postpartum women participated in phone interviews and were invited to complete an online survey which included validated mental health and well-being measures. Results: Approximately 12% of the sample reported high depressive symptomatology and 60% reported moderate or severe anxiety. Forty percent of the sample reported being lonely. The primary themes related to stress were uncertainty surrounding perinatal care, exposure risk for both mother and baby, inconsistent messaging from information sources and lack of support networks. Participants identified various sources of resilience, including the use of virtual communication platforms, engaging in self-care behaviors (eg, adequate sleep, physical activity, and healthy eating), partner emotional support, being outdoors, gratitude, and adhering to structures and routines. Conclusions: Since the onset of COVID-19, many pregnant and postpartum women report struggling with stress, depression, and anxiety symptomatology. Findings from this pilot study begin to inform future intervention work to best support this highly vulnerable population.
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The COVID-19 pandemic significantly changed the lives of a majority of the world’s population. People have been encouraged to implement social distancing behaviors enforced by governments, and have experienced loss of employment or changes to their usual working environment. In the mental health sector, psychologists and psychiatrists have been forced to alter the standard care of patients without compromising safety. This article documents the experiences of the authors – mental health professionals in four countries, Canada, Russia, Australia and Japan – at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, and offers recommendations on how clinical, training, and research practices may need to be adjusted to deal with lockdown situations. Clinicians adapted their usual best practices by learning new skills and updating their knowledge base. Mental health clinicians noticed that the pandemic led to symptomatic changes in some of their patients. Most clinicians moved towards providing telemental health services, such as conducting assessments and treatments remotely. Those who continued seeing patients in person employed personal protective equipment with various impacts on the clinician–patient relationship. The dilemmas of mass quarantines need to be carefully examined, as their effects on numerous health and psychosocial variables appear to be far-reaching.
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Background In March 2020, COVID-19 was declared to be a pandemic. While data suggests that COVID-19 is not associated with significant adverse health outcomes for pregnant women and newborns, the psychological impact on pregnant women is likely to be high. Aim The aim was to explore the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Italian pregnant women, especially regarding concerns and birth expectations. Methods A cross-sectional online survey of pregnant women in Italy was conducted. Responses were analysed for all women and segregated into two groups depending on previous experience of pregnancy loss. Analysis of open text responses examined expectations and concerns before and after the onset of the pandemic. Findings Two hundred pregnant women responded to the first wave of the survey. Most (n = 157, 78.5%) had other children and 100 (50.0%) had a previous history of perinatal loss. ‘Joy’ was the most prevalent emotion expressed before COVID-19 (126, 63.0% before vs 34, 17.0% after; p < 0.05); fear was the most prevalent after (15, 7.5% before vs 98, 49.0% after; p < 0.05). Positive constructs were prevalent before COVID-19, while negative ones were dominant after (p < 0.05). Across the country, women were concerned about COVID-19 and a history of psychological disorders was significantly associated with higher concerns (p < 0.05). A previous pregnancy loss did not influence women’s concerns. Conclusions Women’s expectations and concerns regarding childbirth changed significantly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy. Women with a history of psychological disorders need particular attention as they seem to experience higher levels of concern.
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Background Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a public health emergency of international concern and poses a threat to the mental health of pregnant women. Aim The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between social support and anxiety, and the mediating effect of risk perception during the COVID-19 epidemic in the third trimester pregnant women in Qingdao, China. Methods From 16 to 21 February 2020, an online survey was conducted, which collected the information on demographic data, anxiety, social support and risk perception to COVID-19 of women with established medical records in the ambulatory of the Department of Obstetrics at the Affiliated Hospital of Qingdao University. Anxiety was assessed by the Self-Rating Anxiety Scale (SAS), social support was assessed by the Social Support Rating Scale (SSRS) and risk perception was assessed by a self-designed questionnaire. Results This study had 308 participants with an average of 31.02 ± 3.91 years. During the period of prevention and control of the epidemic, most pregnant women adopted protective measures, such as wearing masks (97.4%), washing hands frequently (88.3%) and staying at home (76.3%). The average SAS, SSRS and risk perception scores of the participants were 42.45 ± 6.98, 44.60 ± 7.00 and 21.60 ± 5.74, respectively. The total effect of maternal social support on anxiety was −2.63 (95% confidence interval (CI): −4.40 ~ −1.44, p < .001), the direct effect was −1.44 (95% CI: −2.74 ~ −0.35, p < .05) and the indirect effect was −1.19 (95% CI: −2.49 ~ −0.51, p < .001). Conclusion The third trimester pregnant women had a high level of social support, a medium level of risk perception to COVID-19 and were susceptible to anxiety. Risk perception played a mediating role between social support and anxiety.
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Objectives: To investigate the mental status of pregnant women and to determine their obstetric decisions during the COVID-19 outbreak. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Two cities in China, Wuhan (epicentre) and Chongqing (a less affected city). Population: 1947 pregnant women. Methods: We collected demographic, pregnancy, and epidemic information from our pregnant subjects, along with their attitudes towards COVID-19 (using a self-constructed five-point scale). The Self-Rating Anxiety Scale (SAS) was used to assess anxiety status. Obstetric decision-making was also evaluated. The differences between cities in all of the above factors were compared, and the factors that influenced anxiety levels were identified by multivariable analysis. Main outcome measures: Anxiety status and its influencing factors. Obstetric decision-making. Results: Differences were observed between cities in some background characteristics and women's attitudes towards COVID-19 in Wuhan were more extreme. More women in Wuhan felt anxious (24.5% vs 10.4%). Factors that influenced anxiety also included household income, subjective symptoms, and attitudes. Overall, obstetric decisions also revealed city-based differences; these decisions mainly concerned hospital preference, time of prenatal care or delivery, mode of delivery and infant feeding. Conclusions: The outbreak aggravated prenatal anxiety, and the associated factors could be targets for psychological care. In parallel, key obstetric decision-making changed, emphasising the need for pertinent professional advice. Special support is essential for pregnant mothers during epidemics.
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Background Before the COVID-19 pandemic, coronaviruses caused two noteworthy outbreaks: severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), starting in 2002, and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), starting in 2012. We aimed to assess the psychiatric and neuropsychiatric presentations of SARS, MERS, and COVID-19. Methods In this systematic review and meta-analysis, MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature databases (from their inception until March 18, 2020), and medRxiv, bioRxiv, and PsyArXiv (between Jan 1, 2020, and April 10, 2020) were searched by two independent researchers for all English-language studies or preprints reporting data on the psychiatric and neuropsychiatric presentations of individuals with suspected or laboratory-confirmed coronavirus infection (SARS coronavirus, MERS coronavirus, or SARS coronavirus 2). We excluded studies limited to neurological complications without specified neuropsychiatric presentations and those investigating the indirect effects of coronavirus infections on the mental health of people who are not infected, such as those mediated through physical distancing measures such as self-isolation or quarantine. Outcomes were psychiatric signs or symptoms; symptom severity; diagnoses based on ICD-10, DSM-IV, or the Chinese Classification of Mental Disorders (third edition) or psychometric scales; quality of life; and employment. Both the systematic review and the meta-analysis stratified outcomes across illness stages (acute vs post-illness) for SARS and MERS. We used a random-effects model for the meta-analysis, and the meta-analytical effect size was prevalence for relevant outcomes, I² statistics, and assessment of study quality. Findings 1963 studies and 87 preprints were identified by the systematic search, of which 65 peer-reviewed studies and seven preprints met inclusion criteria. The number of coronavirus cases of the included studies was 3559, ranging from 1 to 997, and the mean age of participants in studies ranged from 12·2 years (SD 4·1) to 68·0 years (single case report). Studies were from China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Canada, Saudi Arabia, France, Japan, Singapore, the UK, and the USA. Follow-up time for the post-illness studies varied between 60 days and 12 years. The systematic review revealed that during the acute illness, common symptoms among patients admitted to hospital for SARS or MERS included confusion (36 [27·9%; 95% CI 20·5–36·0] of 129 patients), depressed mood (42 [32·6%; 24·7–40·9] of 129), anxiety (46 [35·7%; 27·6–44·2] of 129), impaired memory (44 [34·1%; 26·2–42·5] of 129), and insomnia (54 [41·9%; 22·5–50·5] of 129). Steroid-induced mania and psychosis were reported in 13 (0·7%) of 1744 patients with SARS in the acute stage in one study. In the post-illness stage, depressed mood (35 [10·5%; 95% CI 7·5–14·1] of 332 patients), insomnia (34 [12·1%; 8·6–16·3] of 280), anxiety (21 [12·3%; 7·7–17·7] of 171), irritability (28 [12·8%; 8·7–17·6] of 218), memory impairment (44 [18·9%; 14·1–24·2] of 233), fatigue (61 [19·3%; 15·1–23·9] of 316), and in one study traumatic memories (55 [30·4%; 23·9–37·3] of 181) and sleep disorder (14 [100·0%; 88·0–100·0] of 14) were frequently reported. The meta-analysis indicated that in the post-illness stage the point prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder was 32·2% (95% CI 23·7–42·0; 121 of 402 cases from four studies), that of depression was 14·9% (12·1–18·2; 77 of 517 cases from five studies), and that of anxiety disorders was 14·8% (11·1–19·4; 42 of 284 cases from three studies). 446 (76·9%; 95% CI 68·1–84·6) of 580 patients from six studies had returned to work at a mean follow-up time of 35·3 months (SD 40·1). When data for patients with COVID-19 were examined (including preprint data), there was evidence for delirium (confusion in 26 [65%] of 40 intensive care unit patients and agitation in 40 [69%] of 58 intensive care unit patients in one study, and altered consciousness in 17 [21%] of 82 patients who subsequently died in another study). At discharge, 15 (33%) of 45 patients with COVID-19 who were assessed had a dysexecutive syndrome in one study. At the time of writing, there were two reports of hypoxic encephalopathy and one report of encephalitis. 68 (94%) of the 72 studies were of either low or medium quality. Interpretation If infection with SARS-CoV-2 follows a similar course to that with SARS-CoV or MERS-CoV, most patients should recover without experiencing mental illness. SARS-CoV-2 might cause delirium in a significant proportion of patients in the acute stage. Clinicians should be aware of the possibility of depression, anxiety, fatigue, post-traumatic stress disorder, and rarer neuropsychiatric syndromes in the longer term. Funding Wellcome Trust, UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), UK Medical Research Council, NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and University College London.
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Background On January 20, 2020, a new coronavirus epidemic with “human-to-human” transmission was officially announced by the Chinese government, which caused significant public panic in China. Pregnant women may be particularly vulnerable and in special need for preventative mental health strategies. Thus far, no reports exist to investigate the mental health response of pregnant women to the COVID-19 outbreak. Objective The aim of the present study is to examine the impact of COVID-19 outbreak on the prevalence of depressive and anxiety symptoms and the corresponding risk factors among pregnant women across China. Study Design A multi-center cross-sectional study was initiated in early December 2019 to identify mental health concerns in pregnancy using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). This study provided a unique opportunity to compare the mental status of pregnant women before and after the announcement of the COVID-19 epidemic. A total of 4124 pregnant women during their third trimester from 25 hospitals in 10 provinces across China were examined in this cross-sectional study from January 1 to February 9, 2020. Of these women, 1285 were assessed after January 20, 2020 when the coronavirus epidemic was publically announced and 2839 were assessed before this pivotal time point. The internationally recommended EPDS was used to assess maternal depression and anxiety symptoms. Prevalence rates and risk factors were compared between the pre and post study groups. Results Pregnant women assessed after the declaration of COVID-19 epidemic had significantly higher rates of depressive symptoms (26.0% vs 29.6%, P=0.02) than women assess pre-epidemic announcement. These women were also more likely to endorse thoughts of self-harm (P=0.005). The depressive rates were positively associated with the number of newly-confirmed COVID-19 cases (P=0.003), suspected infections (P=0.004), and death cases per day (P=0.001). Pregnant women who were underweight pre-pregnancy, primiparous, < 35 years old, employed full-time, middle income, and had appropriate living space were at increased risk to develop depressive and anxiety symptoms during the outbreak. Conclusion Major life-threatening public health events such as the COVID-19 outbreak may increase the risk for mental illness among pregnant women including thoughts of self-harm. Strategies targeting maternal stress and isolation such as effective risk communication and the provision of psychological first aid may be particularly useful to prevent negative outcomes for women and their fetuses.
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With the pandemic of Coronavirus disease‐19 (COVID‐19) spiraling out of control, the world is desperately frazzled at the moment. A few empirical studies related to this pandemic have reported higher prevalence of mental health problems among women compared to men.1 In this context, pregnant women and new mothers could certainly be more vulnerable. Are there psychological repercussions of this outbreak on maternal health? Are perinatal maternal mental health disorders an inevitable burden of this pandemic? Could this be averted with a proactive, multidisciplinary, integrated health services approach targeting the vulnerable population of pregnant women?.
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Depressive symptoms during and after pregnancy confer risks for adverse outcomes in both the mother and child. Postpartum depression is traditionally diagnosed after birth of the child. Perinatal depression is a serious, prevalent heterogeneous syndrome that can occur during the period from conception through several months after childbirth. Onset and course are not well understood. There is a paucity of longitudinal studies of the disorder that include the antenatal period in population-based samples. We used an Internet panel of pregnant women recruited in 2 cohorts; 858 ascertained in the first and 322 ascertained in the third trimesters of pregnancy. We recruited the second cohort in order to assure sufficient sample to examine depressive symptoms later in pregnancy and in the postpartum period. Assessments included standard psychometric measures, health history, and pregnancy experience. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale was used for the assessment of depressive symptoms. Nearly 10% of women entered the pregnancy with depressive symptoms. Prevalence was about the same at 4 weeks and 3 months postpartum. During pregnancy, prevalence increased to 16% in the third trimester. Among incident cases, 80% occurred during pregnancy, with 1/3 occurring in the first trimester. We describe predictors of incident depressive symptoms and covariates associated with time-to-onset which include health history (psychiatric and medical) and social support covariates. The majority of incident depressive symptoms occur during pregnancy rather than afterward. This finding underscores the mandate for mental health screening early in pregnancy and throughout gestation. It will be important to find safe and effective interventions that prevent, mitigate, or delay the onset of depressive symptoms that can be implemented during pregnancy.
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Background Some 5%–15% of all women experience postpartum depression (PPD), which for many is their first psychiatric disorder. The purpose of this study was to estimate the incidence of postpartum affective disorder (AD), duration of treatment, and rate of subsequent postpartum AD and other affective episodes in a nationwide cohort of women with no prior psychiatric history. Methods and findings Linking information from several Danish national registers, we constructed a cohort of 457,317 primiparous mothers with first birth (and subsequent births) from 1 January 1996 to 31 December 2013 (a total of 789,068 births) and no prior psychiatric hospital contacts and/or use of antidepressants. These women were followed from 1 January 1996 to 31 December 2014. Postpartum AD was defined as use of antidepressants and/or hospital contact for PPD within 6 months after childbirth. The main outcome measures were risk of postpartum AD, duration of treatment, and recurrence risk. We observed 4,550 (0.6%) postpartum episodes of AD. The analyses of treatment duration showed that 1 year after the initiation of treatment for their first episode, 27.9% of women were still in treatment; after 4 years, 5.4%. The recurrence risk of postpartum AD for women with a PPD hospital contact after first birth was 55.4 per 100 person-years; for women with postpartum antidepressant medication after first birth, it was 35.0 per 100 person-years. The rate of postpartum AD after second birth for women with no history of postpartum AD was 1.2 per 100 person-years. After adjusting for year of birth and mother’s age, women with PPD hospital contact after first birth had a 46.4 times higher rate (95% CI 31.5–68.4) and women with postpartum antidepressant medication after their first birth had a 26.9 times higher rate (95% CI 21.9–33.2) of a recurrent postpartum episode after their second birth compared to women with no postpartum AD history. Limitations include the use of registry data to identify cases and limited confounder control. Conclusions In this study, an episode of postpartum AD was observed for 0.6% of childbirths among women with no prior psychiatric history. The observed episodes were characterized by a relatively short treatment duration, yet the women had a notably high rate of later AD and recurrent episodes of postpartum AD. The recurrence risk of postpartum AD was markedly higher among women with PPD hospital contact after first birth compared to women with postpartum antidepressant medication after first birth. Our results underline the necessity of measures targeted at specific vulnerable groups, such as women who experience PPD as a first psychiatric episode.
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The objectives of this cross-sectional study were to determine whether depressive and perinatal grief symptoms vary according to time since miscarriage and to test whether childlessness and satisfaction with healthcare services influence symptom duration. A total of 245 women who had experienced a miscarriage answered a self-report questionnaire, indicating the date of their miscarriage and assessing their present level of depressive and perinatal grief symptoms. They also provided sociodemographic characteristics and indicated their level of satisfaction with healthcare services. One-way analyses of variance indicated that women who had miscarried within the past 6 months reported higher scores for depressive symptoms than did women who had miscarried between 7 and 12 months ago and more than 2 years ago. However, when controlling for childlessness and satisfaction with healthcare services, those differences became respectively marginal and non-significant, indicating that depressive symptoms are similar across time for more than 2 years after the loss. Regarding perinatal grief, results revealed that symptoms significantly decreased across time only for women with children and women who were satisfied with healthcare services. For childless women and those dissatisfied with healthcare services, perinatal grief symptoms did not vary according to time since miscarriage. Results suggest that, particularly for women who are childless and/or dissatisfied with healthcare services, depressive and perinatal grief symptoms persist long after a miscarriage. These results highlight the importance of paying particular attention to more vulnerable women and of improving healthcare services post-miscarriage.
Article
Background The COVID-19 pandemic has affected mental health and created barriers to healthcare. In this study, we sought to elucidate the pandemic's effects on mental health and access to care for perinatal individuals. Methods This cross-sectional study of individuals in Massachusetts who were pregnant or up to three months postpartum with a history of depressive symptoms examined associations between demographics and psychiatric symptoms (via validated mental health screening instruments) and the COVID-19 pandemic's effects on mental health and access to care. Chi-square associations and multivariate regression models were used. Results Of 163 participants, 80.8% perceived increased symptoms of depression and 88.8% of anxiety due to the pandemic. Positive screens for depression, anxiety, and/or PTSD at time of interview, higher education, and income were associated with increased symptoms of depression and anxiety due to the pandemic. Positive screens for depression, anxiety, and/or PTSD were also associated with perceived changes in access to mental healthcare. Compared to non-Hispanic White participants, participants of color (Black, Asian, Multiracial, and/or Hispanic/Latinx) were more likely to report that the pandemic changed their mental healthcare access (aOR:3.25, 95%CI:1.23, 8.59). Limitations Limitations included study generalizability, given that participants have a history of depressive symptoms, and cross-sectional design. Conclusions The pandemic has increased symptoms of perinatal depression and anxiety and impacted perceived access to care. Self-reported increases in depression and anxiety and changes to healthcare access varied by education, race/ethnicity, income, and positive screens. Understanding these differences is important to address perinatal mental health and provide equitable care.
Article
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused widespread disruption to our traditional way of life and mental health therapy has not been spared. A combination of increased anxiety, diminished social opportunities, and the shift to telehealth service provision presents particular challenges for the treatment of social anxiety in youth, which relies heavily on exposures to social situations with peers, adults, or other feared social stimuli. The objective of this commentary is to provide guidance to clinicians working with youth with social anxiety on how to maintain ethical, evidence-informed provision of exposure therapy in light of these unusual circumstances. We first present an overview of how COVID-19 may uniquely impact youth with social anxiety and highlight the importance of continuing to provide exposure-based treatments during this time. We then discuss guiding principles for delivering exposure therapy during COVID-19. We focus on providing practical examples of how common social anxiety exposures can be adapted and delivered successfully through telehealth while abiding by COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. Finally, we discuss key recommendations to assist clinicians in moving treatment forward while considering changing safety guidelines pertaining to COVID-19.
Article
Background When the vulnerabilities of the postnatal period are combined with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, psychosocial outcomes are likely to be affected. Specifically, we aim to: a) explore the psychosocial experiences of women in the early postnatal period; b) describe prevalence rates of clinically-relevant maternal anxiety and depression; and c) explore whether psychosocial change occurring as a result of COVID-19 is predictive of clinically-relevant maternal anxiety and depression. Methods A sample of UK mothers (N=614) with infants aged between birth and twelve weeks were recruited via convenience sampling. A cross-sectional survey design was utilised which comprised demographics, COVID-19 specific questions, and a battery of validated psychosocial measures, including the EPDS and STAI-S which were used to collect prevalence rates of clinically relevant depression and anxiety respectively. Data collection coincided with the UK government’s initial mandated “lockdown” restrictions and the introduction of social distancing measures in 2020. Findings Descriptive findings from the overall sample indicate that a high percentage of mothers self-reported psychological and social changes as a result of the introduction of social distancing measures. For women who reported the presence of psychosocial change, these changes were perceived negatively. Whilst seventy women (11.4%) reported a current clinical diagnosis of depression, two hundred and sixty-four women (43%) reported a score of ≥13 on the EPDS, indicating clinically relevant depression. Whilst one hundred and thirteen women (18.4%) reported a current clinical diagnosis of anxiety, three hundred and seventy-three women (61%) reported a score of ≥40 on STAI-S, indicating clinically relevant anxiety. After accounting for current clinical diagnoses of depression or anxiety, and demographic factors known to influence mental health, only perceived psychological change occurring as a result of the introduction of social distancing measures predicted unique variance in the risk of clinically relevant maternal depression (30%) and anxiety (33%). Interpretation To our knowledge, this is the first national study to examine the psychosocial experiences of postnatal women during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. Prevalence rates of clinically relevant maternal depression and anxiety were extremely high when compared to both self-reported current diagnoses of depression and anxiety, and pre-pandemic prevalence studies. Perceived psychological changes occurring as a result of the introduction of social distancing measures predicted unique variance in the risk for clinically relevant maternal depression and anxiety. This study provides vital information for clinicians, funders, policy makers, and researchers to inform the immediate next steps in perinatal care, policy, and research during COVID-19 and future health crises.
Article
Aim This study aimed to investigate and monitor the mental health status of pregnant women during the COVID-19 pandemic. Materials and methods The meta-analysis was used to study the literatures on the psychology of pregnant women in four databases until Sep 27, 2020. Results A total of 19 articles were included in the final meta-analysis. The overall prevalence of anxiety was 42% (95%CI 26%-57%) with substantial heterogeneity (I² = 99.6%). The overall prevalence of depression was 25% (95%CI 20%-31%) with substantial heterogeneity (I² = 97.9%). Age, family economic status, social support, and physical activity seem to correlate with the mental health status of pregnant women Conclusion The prevalence of anxiety and depression among pregnant women increased significantly during the COVID-19 epidemic. Pregnant women are more concerned about others than themselves during COVID-19, and younger pregnant women seem to be more prone to anxiety, while social support and physical activity can reduce the likelihood of anxiety and depression. It is necessary to take some psychological intervention measures for pregnant women to help them go through this special period safely and smoothly.
Article
Background COVID-19 has started to spread within China since the end of December 2019. As a special population, the pregnant and delivery women maybe influenced both in physical and psychological aspects. The meta-analysis was conducted about mental health in pregnant and delivery women. Methods We searched both MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library in English and CBM, CNKI, WANFANG and CSSCI in Chinese to find literature from December 2019 to 31 July 2020 related to COVID-19 and mental health in patient with pregnancy and delivery, among which results such as comments, letters, reviews and case reports were excluded. The prevalence of anxiety and depression in the population was synthesized and discussed. Results A total of 11,187 subjects were included in 15 studies. Random effect model is used to account for the data by Revman 5.2. The results showed that the prevalence of depression was 30% (95% CI: 0.23–0.37), the prevalence of anxiety was 34% (95% CI: 0.26–0.43) and prevalence of both anxiety and depression was 18% (95% CI: 0.09–0.29). The prevalence of anxiety (OR = 2.15, 95% CI: 1.39–3.31, Z = 3.47, p=.0005), depression (OR = 1.95, 95% CI: 1.07–3.56, Z = 2.19, p=.03) were higher than that of controls. Significant heterogeneity was detected across studies regarding these prevalence estimates. Subgroup analysis was taken according to assessment tools, and sensitivity analysis was done to explore the sources of heterogeneity. Conclusions The higher prevalence of depression, anxiety, both depression and anxiety in women with pregnancy and delivery during COVID-19 pandemic although the significant heterogeneity detected in studies. We must interpret the results with caution and also put attention to this result. As the epidemic is ongoing, it is vital to set up a comprehensive crisis prevention system.
Article
Background The unprecedented worldwide crisis caused by the rapid spread of COVID-19 and the restrictive public health measures enforced by some countries to slow down its transmission have severely threatened the physical and mental wellbeing of communities globally. Methods We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine the prevalence of anxiety in the general population during the COVID-19 pandemic. Two researchers independently searched for cross-sectional community-based studies published between December 1, 2019 and August 23, 2020, using PubMed, WoS, Embase, and other sources (e.g., grey literature, manual search). Results Of 3049 records retrieved, 43 studies were included. These studies yielded an estimated overall prevalence of anxiety of 25%, which varied significantly across the different tools used to measure anxiety. Consistently reported risk factors for the development of anxiety included initial or peak phase of the outbreak, female sex, younger age, marriage, social isolation, unemployment and student status, financial hardship, low educational level, insufficient knowledge of COVID-19, epidemiological or clinical risk of disease and some lifestyle and personality variables. Conclusions As the overall global prevalence of anxiety disorders is estimated to be 7.3% normally, our results suggest that rates of anxiety in the general population could be more than 3 times higher during the COVID-19 pandemic. These findings suggest a substantial impact on mental health that should be targeted by individual and population-level strategies.
Article
Background Pregnant women and women who recently gave birth are vulnerable to COVID-19-related psychosocial stresses. Methods We assessed COVID-19-related health worries and grief, and current mental health symptoms (depression, generalized anxiety, and PTSD) in 1,123 U.S. women during the COVID-19 pandemic (May 21 to August 17, 2020) through a cross-sectional study design. Results Among our respondents, 36.4% reported clinically significant levels of depression, 22.7% for generalized anxiety, and 10.3% for PTSD. Women with pre-existing mental health diagnoses based on their self-reported history were 1.6-to-3.7 more likely to score at clinically significant levels of depression, generalized anxiety, and PTSD. Approximately 18% reported high levels of COVID-19-related health worries and were 2.6-to-4.2 times more likely to score above the clinical threshold for mental health symptoms. Approximately 9% reported high levels of grief and were 4.8-to-5.5 times more likely to score above the clinical threshold for mental health symptoms. Conclusions Perinatal women with pre-existing mental health diagnoses show elevated symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although causation cannot be inferred, COVID-19-related health worries and grief experiences may increase the likelihood of mental health symptoms among those without pre-existing mental health concerns. Providers should develop strategies for addressing health-related worry and grief within their practice.
Article
Background The COVID-19 New Mum Study is recording maternal experiences and infant feeding during the UK lockdown. This report from week 1 of the survey describes and compares the delivery and post-natal experiences of women who delivered before (BL) versus during (DL) the lockdown. Methods Women living in the UK aged ≥18 years with an infant ≤12 months of age completed an anonymous online survey (https://is.gd/covid19newmumstudy). Information/links are shared via websites, social media and existing contacts. Results From 27.5.20–3.6.20, 1365 women provided data (94% white, 95% married/with partner, 66% degree/higher qualification, 86% living in house; 1049 (77%) delivered BL and 316 (23%) DL. Delivery mode, skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding initiation did not differ between groups. DL women had shorter hospital stays (p < 0.001). 39% reported changes to their birth plan. Reflecting younger infant age, 59% of DL infants were exclusively breast-fed/mixed fed versus 39% of BL (p < 0.05). 13% reported a change in feeding; often related to lack of breastfeeding support, especially with practical problems. Important sources of feeding support were the partner (60%), health professional (50%) and online groups (47%). 45% of DL women reported insufficient feeding support. Among BL women, 57% and 69% reported decreased feeding support and childcare, respectively. 40% BL/45% DL women reported insufficient support with their own health, 8%/9% contacted a mental health professional; 11% reported their mental health was affected. 9% highlighted lack of contact/support from family and distress that they had missed seeing the baby. Conclusion Lockdown has impacted maternal experiences, resulting in distress for many women. Our findings suggest the need for better infant feeding support, especially ‘face-to-face’ support for practical issues; and recognising and supporting mothers who are struggling with mental health challenges or other aspects of their health. The effectiveness of online versus face-to-face contact is currently uncertain, and requires further evaluation.
Article
Rationale: Women pregnant during the COVID-19 pandemic are experiencing moderate to high levels of emotional distress, which has previously been shown to be attributable to two types of pandemic-related pregnancy stress: stress associated with feeling unprepared for birth due to the pandemic (Preparedness Stress) and stress related to fears of perinatal COVID-19 infection (Perinatal Infection Stress). Objective: Given the well-documented harms associated with elevated prenatal stress and the critical importance of developing appropriately targeted interventions, we investigated factors predictive of pandemic-related pregnancy stress. Method: Between April 25 and May 15, 2020, 4,451 pregnant women in the U.S. were recruited via social media to complete an online questionnaire that included sociodemographic, medical, and COVID-19 situational factors, as well as the Pandemic-Related Pregnancy Stress Scale (PREPS). Binary logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios for high stress. Results: Nearly 30% of participants reported high Preparedness Stress; a similar proportion reported high Perinatal Infection Stress. Abuse history, chronic illness, income loss due to the pandemic, perceived risk of having had COVID-19, alterations to prenatal appointments, high-risk pregnancy, and being a woman of color were associated with greater levels of one or both types of stress. Access to outdoor space, older age, and engagement in healthy behaviors were protective against stress. Conclusions: Practices that may alleviate pandemic-related stress such as minimizing disruptions to prenatal care, ensuring access to outdoor space, and motivating engagement in health behaviors are of vital importance. Particular attention is needed for more vulnerable populations including women of color, women with a history of abuse, and those with high-risk pregnancy. Research focused on the short and longer-term impact of pandemic-related pregnancy stress on maternal mental and physical health, perinatal outcomes, and child development is critical to identify these effects and marshal appropriate resources to reduce them.
Article
Background Anxiety and depression symptoms in pregnancy typically affect between 10-25% of pregnant individuals. Elevated symptoms of depression and anxiety are associated with increased risk of preterm birth, postpartum depression, and behavioural difficulties in children. The current COVID-19 pandemic is a unique stressor with potentially wide-ranging consequences for pregnancy and beyond. Methods We assessed symptoms of anxiety and depression among pregnant individuals during the current COVID-19 pandemic and determined factors that were associated with psychological distress. 1987 pregnant participants in Canada were surveyed in April 2020. The assessment included questions about COVID-19-related stress and standardized measures of depression, anxiety, pregnancy-related anxiety, and social support. Results We found substantially elevated anxiety and depression symptoms compared to similar pre-pandemic pregnancy cohorts, with 37% reporting clinically relevant symptoms of depression and 57% reporting clinically relevant symptoms of anxiety. Higher symptoms of depression and anxiety were associated with more concern about threats of COVID-19 to the life of the mother and baby, as well as concerns about not getting the necessary prenatal care, relationship strain, and social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Higher levels of perceived social support and support effectiveness, as well as more physical activity, were associated with lower psychological symptoms. Conclusion This study shows concerningly elevated symptoms of anxiety and depression among pregnant individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic, that may have long-term impacts on their children. Potential protective factors include increased social support and exercise, as these were associated with lower symptoms and thus may help mitigate long-term negative outcomes.
Article
The pandemic, and the associated changes to pregnancy and postpartum experiences, can lead to profound psychological reactions including panic, hyperarousal, sleep disturbance, anxiety, depression, and traumatic stress disorders. Providers face compassion fatigue and shared trauma. In this article, we describe the mental health outcomes known to date in regard to the novel coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic for obstetric patients and their providers as well as therapeutic approaches, including our novel embedded mental health service, to address these mental health needs.
Article
Introduction: Prenatal maternal distress has a negative impact on the course of pregnancy, fetal development, offspring development and later psychopathologies. The study aimed to determine the extent to which the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic may aggravate pregnant women prenatal distress and psychiatric symptomatology. Material and methods: Two cohorts of pregnant volunteer women were evaluated, one that was recruited before the COVID-19 pandemic (n=496) through advertisements in prenatal clinics in Quebec, Canada, from April 2018 to March 2020; the other (n=1258) was recruited online during the pandemic from April 2 to April 13 2020. Prenatal distress and psychiatric symptomatology were measured with the Kessler Distress Scale (K10), Post-traumatic Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5), Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES-II) and Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). Results: The 1754 pregnant women (Mage =29.27, SD=4.23) were between 4 and 41 gestational weeks (M=24.80, SD=9.42), were generally educated (91.3% had post-high school training) and financially well-resourced (85.3% were above the low-income cut-off). A multivariate analysis of covariance controlling for age, gestational age, household income, education and lifetime psychiatric disorders showed a large effect size (ES) in the difference between the two cohorts on psychiatric symptoms (Wilks' λ=0.68, F6,1400 =108.50, p < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.32). According to post-hoc analyses of covariance, the COVID-19 women reported higher levels of depressive and anxiety symptoms (ES=0.57), dissociative symptoms (ES=0.22 and 0.25), symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (ES=0.19), negative affectivity (ES = 0.96) and less positive affectivity (ES=0.95) than the pre-COVID-19 cohort. Women from the COVID-19 cohort were more likely than pre-COVID-19 women to present clinically significant levels of depressive and anxiety symptoms [OR=1.94, χ2(1)=10.05, p=.002]. Multiple regression analyses indicated that COVID-19 pregnant women having a previous psychiatric diagnosis or low income would be more prone to elevated distress and psychiatric symptoms. Conclusions: Pregnant women assessed during the COVID-19 pandemic reported more distress and psychiatric symptoms than pregnant women assessed before the pandemic, mainly in the form of depression and anxiety symptoms. Given the harmful consequences of prenatal distress on mothers and offspring, the presently observed upsurge of symptoms in pregnant women calls for special means of clinical surveillance.
Article
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is a public health emergency requiring significant changes in obstetric and gynecologic health care delivery to minimize the risk of transmission to healthy patients and health care workers. Although these changes are necessary, they will differentially affect patients in a way that highlights and exacerbates existing inequities in health care access and outcomes. Socially vulnerable groups are already disproportionately affected by COVID-19 infection and more likely to experience severe morbidity and mortality. Some reasons for this include a limited ability to practice risk-reducing behaviors such as physical distancing, higher prevalence of chronic medical conditions, and less access to medical care. Additionally, the structural changes now taking place in health care delivery have negatively affected the ability of socially vulnerable groups to obtain necessary obstetric and gynecologic care, which may lead to poorer outcomes. As physician-leaders enact new policies to respond to the COVID-19 public health crisis, it is important to consider the potential for exacerbating existing health inequities and to be proactive in creating policies that promote equity.
Article
Background The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is a global public health emergency. Data on the effect of COVID-19 in pregnancy are limited to small case series. Objectives To evaluate the clinical characteristics and outcomes in pregnancy and the vertical transmission potential of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Study Desigh Clinical records were retrospectively reviewed for 116 pregnant women with COVID-19 pneumonia from 25 hospitals in China between January 20 and March 24, 2020. Evidence of vertical transmission was assessed by testing for SARS-CoV-2 in amniotic fluid, cord blood, and neonatal pharyngeal swab samples. Results The median gestational age on admission was 38⁺⁰ (IQR 36⁺⁰-39⁺¹) weeks. The most common symptoms were fever (50.9%, 59/116) and cough (28.4%, 33/116); 23.3% (27/116) patients presented without symptoms. Abnormal radiologic findings were found in 96.3% (104/108) of cases. There were eight cases (6.9%, 8/116) of severe pneumonia but no maternal deaths. One of eight patients (1/8) that presented in the first- and early-second-trimester had a missed spontaneous abortion. Twenty-one of 99 patients (21.2%, 21/99) that had delivered had preterm birth, including six with preterm premature ruptured of membranes. The rate of spontaneous preterm birth before 37 weeks was 6.1% (6/99). There was one case of severe neonatal asphyxia that resulted in neonatal death. Eighty-six of the 100 neonates that had testing for SARS-CoV-2 had negative results, of these ten neonates had paired amniotic fluid and cord blood samples that were tested negative for SARS-CoV-2. Conclusions SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy is not associated with an increased risk of spontaneous abortion and spontaneous preterm birth. There is no evidence of vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection when the infection manifests during the third-trimester of pregnancy.
Article
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is having a profound effect on all aspects of society, including mental health and physical health. We explore the psychological, social, and neuroscientific effects of COVID-19 and set out the immediate priorities and longer-term strategies for mental health science research. These priorities were informed by surveys of the public and an expert panel convened by the UK Academy of Medical Sciences and the mental health research charity, MQ: Transforming Mental Health, in the first weeks of the pandemic in the UK in March, 2020. We urge UK research funding agencies to work with researchers, people with lived experience, and others to establish a high level coordination group to ensure that these research priorities are addressed, and to allow new ones to be identified over time. The need to maintain high-quality research standards is imperative. International collaboration and a global perspective will be beneficial. An immediate priority is collecting high-quality data on the mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic across the whole population and vulnerable groups, and on brain function, cognition, and mental health of patients with COVID-19. There is an urgent need for research to address how mental health consequences for vulnerable groups can be mitigated under pandemic conditions, and on the impact of repeated media consumption and health messaging around COVID-19. Discovery, evaluation, and refinement of mechanistically driven interventions to address the psychological, social, and neuroscientific aspects of the pandemic are required. Rising to this challenge will require integration across disciplines and sectors, and should be done together with people with lived experience. New funding will be required to meet these priorities, and it can be efficiently leveraged by the UK's world-leading infrastructure. This Position Paper provides a strategy that may be both adapted for, and integrated with, research efforts in other countries.
Article
The December, 2019 coronavirus disease outbreak has seen many countries ask people who have potentially come into contact with the infection to isolate themselves at home or in a dedicated quarantine facility. Decisions on how to apply quarantine should be based on the best available evidence. We did a Review of the psychological impact of quarantine using three electronic databases. Of 3166 papers found, 24 are included in this Review. Most reviewed studies reported negative psychological effects including post-traumatic stress symptoms, confusion, and anger. Stressors included longer quarantine duration, infection fears, frustration, boredom, inadequate supplies, inadequate information, financial loss, and stigma. Some researchers have suggested long-lasting effects. In situations where quarantine is deemed necessary, officials should quarantine individuals for no longer than required, provide clear rationale for quarantine and information about protocols, and ensure sufficient supplies are provided. Appeals to altruism by reminding the public about the benefits of quarantine to wider society can be favourable.
Article
This review summarizes six decades of clinical outcome research relevant to evidence-based practices for depression and anxiety delivered via clinical videoconferencing. The authors conducted a literature search of previous systematic reviews and an updated search of publications specific to anxiety and depression. Overall, strong evidence supports the safety and clinical effectiveness of administering evidence-based psychotherapy for anxiety and depression via clinical videoconferencing among heterogeneous populations and age ranges, and in multiple care settings, with similar outcomes to in-person care. Despite the overall clinical effectiveness of the modality, the authors discuss common logistical and institutional barriers to long-term effective implementation. Future systems-level research is required to investigate replicable and sustainable models for implementing and expanding access to evidence-based psychotherapies via clinical videoconferencing.
Article
Objective: To estimate the prevalence of anxiety disorders in pregnant and postpartum women and identify predictors accounting for variability across estimates. Data Sources: An electronic search of PsycINFO and PubMed was conducted from inception until July 2016, without date or language restrictions, and supplemented by articles referenced in the obtained sources. A Boolean search phrase utilized a combination of keywords related to pregnancy, postpartum, prevalence, and specific anxiety disorders. Study Selection: Articles reporting the prevalence of 1 or more of 8 common anxiety disorders in pregnant or postpartum women were included. A total of 2,613 records were retrieved, with 26 studies ultimately included. Data Extraction: Anxiety disorder prevalence and potential predictor variables (eg, parity) were extracted from each study. A Bayesian multivariate modeling approach estimated the prevalence and between-study heterogeneity of each disorder and the prevalence of having 1 or more anxiety disorder. Results: Individual disorder prevalence estimates ranged from 1.1% for posttraumatic stress disorder to 4.8% for specific phobia, with the prevalence of having at least 1 or more anxiety disorder estimated to be 20.7% (95% highest density interval [16.7% to 25.4%]). Substantial between-study heterogeneity was observed, suggesting that “true” prevalence varies broadly across samples. There was evidence of a small (3.1%) tendency for pregnant women to be more susceptible to anxiety disorders than postpartum women. Conclusions: Peripartum anxiety disorders are more prevalent than previously thought, with 1 in 5 women in a typical sample meeting diagnostic criteria for at least 1 disorder. These findings highlight the need for anxiety screening, education, and referral in obstetrics and gynecology settings.
Article
The health and well-being of pregnant women during and after natural disasters remains an international concern. In this mixed methods study we described pregnant women’s mental health, psychosocial concerns and sources of stress living in New Orleans during long term recovery from Hurricane Katrina. Our survey of 402 pregnant women indicated poor social support was associated with higher levels of depression symptomology, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and stress. Women were interviewed and described seven common areas of worry. We concluded that pregnant women living in post-disaster communities have stressful lives years after the event, needing innovative models of care to build resilience.
Article
Objective: Review primary research regarding PTSD Post-Childbirth (PTSD-PC) that focussed on Quality of Provider Interaction (QPI) from the perspective of women who developed PTSD-PC, or midwives. Background: Up to 45% of women find childbirth traumatic. PTSD-PC develops in 4% of women (18% in high-risk groups). Women’s subjective experiences of childbirth are the most important risk factor in the development of PTSD-PC, with perceived QPI being key. Methods: A systematic search was performed for PTSD-PC literature. Reviewed papers focussed on either women’s subjective childbirth experiences, particularly QPI, or midwives’ perspectives on QPI. Study quality was assessed using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) tools, and a narrative synthesis of findings produced. Results: Fourteen studies were included. Three features of QPI contribute towards developing PTSD-PC: interpersonal factors; midwifery care factors; and lack of support. Conclusion: QPI is a significant factor in the development of PTSD-PC and the identified key features of QPI have potential to be modified by midwives. The development of guidelines for midwives should be grounded on evidence highlighted in this review, along with further high-quality qualitative research exploring QPI from the perspective of women with PTSD-PC, but also midwives’ knowledge and needs regarding their role within QPI.