COVID-19 Pandemic Makes Lasting Impact on Parents, Research Says

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Pregnancy, birth, and life in a pandemic with a newborn have brought high anxiety to millions of parents due to changing hospital procedures and extreme loneliness.

With the pandemic continuing into a second year and economic concern persisting, demographers study the effects of having a baby during this pandemic. Research from Curtin University that examined the impact of COVID-19 on childbirth experiences found high anxiety levels in parents and medical practitioners. 

Zoe Bradfield, the lead researcher, said her study was participated by almost 5,000 respondents who recounted their experiences during the pandemic and found out that there has been increased anxiety for new parents, especially those who experienced trauma during childbirth.

New parents couldn't celebrate and join in the usually blissful time of introducing a new baby. Women are separated from their families, and when they went home, they didn't have the typical support of people from labor to childbirth.

While for maternity service workforces, the method that they deliver care has changed so much too, so their helplessness to see women face-to-face has triggered distress to them as well.

READ: Coronavirus Pandemic: To Get Pregnant Now or To Delay?

Many families and clinicians have witnessed the effect of trauma following complicated or traumatic childbirth.

Almost one-third of the women who participated in the study adjusted their birth plans due to COVID. Nearly one-third of them failed to receive the help they needed at birth, and almost 70% received no prenatal training.

Also, marginalized women, such as those living on home violence or speaking a different language than English, were at higher risk of pregnancy and birth complications. They are also very concerned about the transition into telehealth services.

The emotions of sadness have been more significant for new parents who have suffered complications.

ALSO READ: COVID 19 and Pregnancy Would You Believe These New Findings?

Study On Maternal Stress Affecting the Child

A growing body of evidence suggests that maternal stress during pregnancy and the perinatal period can affect a child's neurobehavioral development and health in the long run. NYU Langone Health psychiatrists successfully introduced a ground-breaking study to assess the effect of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on new mothers-and, in turn, their children.

Moriah E. Thomason, Ph.D., the Barakett Associate Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, leads the COVID-19 and Perinatal Experience (COPE) Study.

The study aims to evaluate pregnant and new mothers' experiences and feelings during the pandemic and the impact of maternal stressors on children's neural circuitry, memory, attitudes, and emotional well-being.

READ MORE: Why Experts Advise Not to Get Pregnant During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Dr. Thomason and her collaborators recruited a multiracial cohort of more than 800 expectant or new mothers in the New York City area for the first phase of the COPE study. The team used a survey produced in collaboration with over 100 expert scientists and clinicians to provide a comprehensive portrait of each participant's pandemic-related perceptions and responses as a baseline assessment.

According to preliminary data collected between March 30 and June 15, 2020, the crisis had a huge effect on women's lives. Roughly 75% of pregnant participants said prenatal care was changed, and 90% of those who had recently given birth said postnatal care was changed.

Overall, 78 percent of the mothers registered a rise in stress, with the fundamental causes being financial problems (31%), health issues (21%), the effect on their community (19%), access to mental healthcare (17%), and impact on friends (17%). In-person touch was listed by 75% of respondents as the thing they missed the most.

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