The perinatal impact of maternal COVID-19 disease and the hygienic and social distancing measures taken during the epidemic remain unclear. In this prospective study, the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the social distancing measures on parental anxiety, depression and bonding in COVID-19 positive and COVID-19 negative pregnancies were evaluated.
We recruited pregnant women at delivery in a university hospital in Belgium between April and December 2020, both SARS-CoV2 negative and confirmed (current or previous) SARS-CoV2 positive during pregnancy. Baseline clinical information was retrieved from the patient’s medical file. Women received questionnaires electronically at birth (Day 0-3) and 6 weeks after delivery.
In total, 240 individuals were included at delivery and 37 (15%) of them were COVID-19 positive pregnancies. No significant differences on maternal, neonatal, or breastfeeding outcomes between the COVID-19 positive and negative group were observed. Pregnancy, breastfeeding and neonatal outcome data were similar compared to reference values before COVID-19.
Elevated Edingburg Postpartum Depression Scale scores (>13) were seen in 11% of our patients. This number was significantly higher compared to data in pregnant women at the same hospital before the COVID-19 pandemic. Elevated GAD-7 (Generalized anxiety disorder score) was documented in 13.5% of all included patients. More than half of all women reported that the epidemic had an impact on the support they received post-partum.
It appears that the COVID-19 epidemic has a serious impact on the mental well-being of pregnant women and mothers. It is important to further explore the risk-benefit analysis of future measures during the epidemic.