VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It seems pregnant women are among the most stressed and anxious during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Early results from a Canada-wide survey of pregnant women show expectant mothers are reporting higher levels of anxiety and depression amid the coronavirus outbreak.
“We are looking at rates of anxiety and depression that are sometimes three to four times higher than normal,” says Canada Research Chair in Pediatric Neuroimaging Catherine Lebel, who is leading the project, which launched in April.
She says the key to reducing symptoms is social connections.
“And then, from a sort of more positive side, we did see that better sleep and better social support helped moderate those symptoms,” she adds. “People who are feeling socially isolated more than normal, that was really strongly associated with our depression and anxiety measures.”
The early results are based on responses from nearly 2,000 women.
Symptoms of anxiety and depression during pregnancy can have serious consequences — for both mother and baby. They are linked to a number of negative outcomes including pre-term births and lower birth weights.