In “Pregnant During A Pandemic?” in Psychology Today, Dr. Karestan C. Koenen, Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology, writes about the findings from a recent global survey that she and others have recently conducted. Over 7,500 pregnant and recently pregnant women in 68 countries participated in the survey.
“Over 70% of women report clinically significant depression or anxiety, and over 40% screen positive for post-traumatic stress disorder,” reports Dr. Koenen. “These estimates are consistent with those found in smaller, national studies showing increased rates of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress symptoms.”
Before the pandemic, about 12% of women experience perinatal depression, and approximately 13% of pregnant and postpartum women report an anxiety disorder. About 4% of women before and after pregnancy experience PTSD.
Dr. Koenen also shares her own experience with a difficult and stressful pregnancy and encourages pregnant and postpartum women to be proactive in taking care of their mental health during COVID-19. Among others, she suggests joining a virtual community and calling a help line, such as Pregistry and SAMHSA (1-800-662-HELP (4357)), respectively.