THURSDAY, March 16, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Prenatal COVID-19-related stress is significantly associated with poor postpartum maternal mental health outcomes, according to a study published online March 14 in JAMA network opened.
Susanne Schweizer, Ph.D., of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined the association of antenatal COVID-19-related stress with postpartum maternal mental health and infant outcomes in women from the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia . The analysis included 318 participants who reported being pregnant between May 5 and September 30, 2020, and completed follow-up from October 28, 2021 to April 24, 2022.
The researchers found that prenatal COVID-19-related stress was significantly associated with maternal postpartum stress (β = 0.40), depression (β = 0.32), and generalized anxiety (β = 0.35). In addition, prenatal COVID-19-related stress was associated with negative affectivity in infants (β = 0.45). The findings persisted through sensitivity analyses.
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“A research agenda needs to be established to track the long-term associations of COVID-19-related stress with maternal and child outcomes. In particular, there is a need to identify biological and psychological markers of vulnerability in this population to inform prenatal care approaches. fit,” the authors write. “Pregnant individuals should be classified as a vulnerable group during pandemics, as these results show, especially in terms of mental health.”