9 of 10 expecting mothers suffered depression during COVID: Study

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Rohit Shishodia

COVID-19 has deeply affected the mental health of pregnant women. A study conducted by Safdarjung Hospital-Vardhman Hospital Medical College, Delhi, has revealed that depression and anxiety spiked from 30% to 90% among pregnant women during the first wave of the deadly pandemic.

According to the study, 80% of 243 women, who delivered a baby in the hospital during the period, showed symptoms of anxiety while 90% women were found to be depressed owing to fear of COVID.

Fear and stigma highly affected the mental health of pregnant women during the first wave, doctors found during the study.

The women feared that the disease would affect the health of their unborn child. Even though women were treated for physical symptoms, attention to their mental health got left out.

Explaining the findings of the study to Drug Today Medical Times in the sidelines of 43rd Annual AOGD Conference in Delhi, Dr Sumitra Bachani, Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Safdarjung Hospital, pointed out that it is normal for 25% to 30% women to suffer from depression and anxiety during and after child birth, but this number spiked to 80 % and 90% respectively during the pandemic.

“But these mental health problems were not treated during the pandemic. In fact, they were overlooked. Therefore, we suggest that this aspect (mental health) has also to be looked at during pregnancy,” Dr Bachani added.

“Learning from the first wave, we took care of the mental health aspect and implemented it during the second wave,” Dr Bachani said.

She said, “We are now asking a set of questions related to mental health to the women and referring them to the psychiatrists. Some women were even prescribed medicines to treat their mental health conditions.”


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