COVID-19 Pandemic Risks and Effects on Maternal Mental Health, United States, 2022 Open Access

Huynh, Kevin (Spring 2022)

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Introduction: Risk factors that lead to anxiety and depression among women experiencing pregnancy and are associated with the COVID-19 pandemic are not well defined. I systematically reviewed the literature reporting negative effects on mental health among pregnant women and women who recently gave birth and their long-term impacts on maternal and child health.

Methods: Using PubMed™ and Web-of-Science™ I searched for studies linking COVID-19 and maternal mental health. Articles reporting cross-sectional designs of pregnant women with levels of anxiety and depression before and after the COVID-19 pandemic were included. Studies were reviewed with implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, symptoms of anxiety and depression, adverse birth outcomes, and implications on pregnant women in the post-pandemic era.

Results: Among 21 eligible articles, most focused on accessing pregnant women and related psychosocial stresses from the COVID-19 pandemic. Five revealed elevated levels of anxiety and depression compared to pre-pandemic times, with the pandemic cohort reporting 37% more depression and 57% more anxiety than the pre-pandemic cohort.

Discussion: We found an association between the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic and anxiety and depression among pregnant women. The initial studies during the COVID-19 pandemic used many study designs and were important to identify vulnerable groups and the implications of the current pandemic. Given the newness of these health outcomes, further research should provide a better understanding of pandemic effects on pregnant women, the association with anxiety and depression, long-term effects on maternal and child health, and insight into a vulnerable population to mental health disorders from stress. This could help build effective mental health resources for vulnerable groups, evidence-based strategies, and recommendations for pandemic mental health management and prevention.

Table of Contents

I. CHAPTER 1 – Introduction 1

a. Rationale 1

b. Objectives 3

II. CHAPTER 2 – Methods 4

a. Eligibility criteria 4

b. Information Sources 5

c. Search Strategy 5

d. Study Selection 5

e. Data Collection 5

f. Data Synthesis and Analysis 5

III. CHAPTER 3 – Results 6

a. Study Selection 6

b. Study Characteristics 7

IV. CHAPTER 4 – Discussion 11

a. Limitations 12

c. Conclusion 12

References 14

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