Coronavirus May Be Worsening Mental Health Conditions in Nursing, Pregnant Women

December 8, 2020 11:05:16

A recent study reported in “Psychiatric Review” by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital showed that women who were pregnant or had given birth recently had significant rates of PTSD, depression and generalized anxiety symptoms. These symptoms were worsened by various health worries and coronavirus-related grief.

Prior research has shown that 10% to 20% of women who are pregnant experience various mental health issues in the weeks before or after they give birth. Trauma-related disorders, anxiety and depression can all be aggravated by the increase in stress that is often related to postpartum experiences and pregnancy. It is, however, unknown how stressors in a pandemic can affect these conditions.

Cindy Liu, the study’s corresponding author and a faculty member of the Department of Psychiatry and Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine, explained that while researchers know that women are especially vulnerable to various mental health concerns during the perinatal period, the team wanted to explore the factors that may be connected with mental health symptoms with regard to the pandemic.

The scientists began the Perinatal Experiences and Covid-19 Effects (PEACE) study to help comprehend the mental well-being and health of postpartum and pregnant women in the U.S. amid the coronavirus pandemic. The study involved 1,123 women who were surveyed between May and August of this year. The researchers discovered that 36.4% had significant depression levels. Perinatal depression rates prior to the pandemic were 15% to 20%. They also found out that 10.3% of the participants had PTSD symptoms that were above the clinical threshold with another 22.7% having significant generalized anxiety levels.

Furthermore, the researchers discovered that nearly 9% of the participants reported feelings of disappointment, loss or grief as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. This particular group was five times more likely to undergo clinically significant mental health symptoms. Another 18% of the participants stated that they were extremely or very worried about the health risks associated with the coronavirus. The researchers stated that this group was four times more likely to experience psychiatric symptoms that were clinically significant.

The participants of the study had been recruited through different methods, including through social media groups, word of mouth or the use of email lists. This resulted in a rather homogenous sample population, with the household income being more than $150,000 for 45% of the sample population, 98% living with a partner or spouse, 89.9% being white and 92.1% being college educated.

The researchers noted that what they observed clinically in the first months of the pandemic was similar to the mental health experiences of the participants who were surveyed, stating that perinatal support was limited because of the fear of contracting the coronavirus.

Many other research teams and companies are engaged in searching for solutions to the health issues that plague humanity. One such company is Brain Scientific Inc. (OTCQB: BRSF), which has an avowed aim of improving the field of neurology by developing with novel diagnostic software and devices.

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