During the perinatal period, one out of seven new moms struggles with anxiety and depression. However, according to a new study, the pandemic is making it worse. Experts are concerned about the effect of the pandemic on the mental health of moms after giving birth.
The study published in Frontiers in Global Women's Health showed that there is a reason to be cautious. The team studied 900 women, 520 of them were pregnant, and 380 had given birth in the previous year. They found that maternal depression and anxiety have increased during the health crisis.
Anxiety and depression cases tripled
Before the pandemic happened, 29 percent of the women had moderate to high anxiety symptoms. Fifteen percent of them had depressive symptoms. When the health crisis occurred, the numbers tripled. Seventy-two percent said that they had anxiety, while 41 percent said that they had depression.
Co-author of the study, Dr. Margie Davenport of the University of Alberta, Canada, shared her thoughts. She said that the social and physical isolation measures are taking a toll on the physical and mental health of most people.
Ryan Van Lieshout writes in "The Conversation," that adjustment to parenthood after giving birth is already a challenge, what more now that there is a pandemic. He also noted that COVID-19 strengthens depression and anxiety risk factors in new moms by creating unique barriers. Much more so for black moms, he added.
Women are concerned about getting exposed to the virus. Combined with social distancing, the concern causes decreased access to health care and social support which could further worsen depression. Those resources are what postpartum moms need to build resilience and promote recovery, Lieshout said.
Telehealth allows easy access to health care
Postpartum Support International Board President, Ann Smith, argues that resources and support are now better than before. She said that telehealth has allowed providers to give more support. She addedsaid that one could access resources safely in their homes.
Although the resources are available, no one is sure if the people are using them. Smith said that their hotline had observed a decline in the calls in the past few months. She said that they usually get 1,000 a month, but now they get less than 1,000.
Amusingly, some moms say that they have trouble accessing resources, while some find them lacking. In April, Karen Sleiman told CBC that she could not find a breastfeeding class. She is frustrated because no one is there to hug her and say everything is okay.
Without proper resources and support, the effects on mothers can be harmful. Davenport said that depression and anxiety during and after pregnancy could have harmful effects on both the mom and baby.
It affects their physical and mental health, which can persist for years. Besides premature delivery, it could reduce mother-infant bonding and cause delays in the development of infants.
© 2021 ParentHerald.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.