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Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
February 09, 2021
1 min read

COVID-19 lockdown linked to increase in anxiety, depression symptoms among pregnant women

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
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Lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic was linked to increased anxiety and depression symptoms among pregnant women, according to results of a prospective cohort study published in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica.

“Little research has focused on the psychological impact of pandemic during the lockdown suffered by pregnant women,” Maia Brik, of the Maternal Fetal Medicine Unit at the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital in Spain, and colleagues wrote. “The aim of the present study is to explore depression and anxiety symptoms of pregnant women during lockdown due to SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, as well as to detect risk factors for the development of these symptoms that could lead to early health care interventions in the future. Secondary objectives were to compare depression and anxiety symptoms according to the lockdown period and the trimester of pregnancy.”

pregnant woman in bed
Source: Adobe Stock

The investigators analyzed data of 204 pregnant women who attended the antenatal clinic during the COVID-19 lockdown period. They administered the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and the Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Survey (MOS-SSS). Brik and colleagues used STAI state (STAIs) to describe the actual state of anxiety and the STAI trait (STAIt) to describe the trait of anxiety. They considered a cut-off of 10 for EPDS and 40 for STAI as clinically relevant. Depression and anxiety symptoms served as the main outcome measures.

Data were available of 164 women for the EPDS, 109 for the STAI and 159 for the MOS-SSS. A total of 37.8% of women exhibited an EPDS results of 10 or greater, 59.6% a STAI state of 40 or greater and 58.7% a STAI trait of 40 or greater. According to regression analysis, independent risk factors for anxiety symptoms in the STAIs included mental health disorder, Latin American origin and lack of social support. Maternal BMI, mental health disorders and social support were independent factors for depressive symptoms.

“These results highlight the need to improve mental health care during pregnancy, especially in exceptional circumstances such as the global pandemic situation or lockdown, as these can cause added stress and increased anxiety and depression symptoms, resulting in undesirable consequences for pregnancy and the future newborn,” Brik and colleagues wrote.