The Psychological Effects of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic on Pregnant and Postpartum Women

Hana Al Sumri, Rahma Al Kindi, Sana Al Sumri

Abstract


Background: There is little research available regarding the psychological effect of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on antenatal and postnatal women in the Middle East. This study aimed to evaluate the burden of the pandemic on the mental health of pregnant and postpartum women in Oman.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out from July to December 2020 at the Sultan Qaboos University Hospital in Muscat, Oman. A previously validated Arabic version of the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale was distributed to eligible participants via text message.

Results: A total of 148 women completed the questionnaire (response rate: 12.8%). Of these, 35 participants (23.6%) reported symptoms of stress, ranging in severity from mild (n = 13, 8.8%) to extremely severe (n = 4, 2.7%); and 44 women (29.7%) reported some level of anxiety, most usually of moderate severity (n = 15, 10.1%). In addition, 46 women (31.1%) reported symptoms of depression, with 16 women (10.8%) having severe or extremely severe depression. Various factors were significantly associated with anxiety and depression levels, including lack of social support due to quarantine restrictions, the presence of an elderly individual at home, and the effect of the pandemic on monthly income (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: These findings underscore the importance of finances, family, and social support on the psychological wellbeing of pregnant and postpartum Omani women during this pandemic. In future, healthcare providers should implement awareness campaigns and educational programs to provide additional support to this population group during similar health crises.




J Clin Gynecol Obstet. 2021;10(3):73-80
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/jcgo752

Keywords


Depression; Anxiety; Psychological stress; COVID-19; Pregnant women; Postpartum period

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