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Currently submitted to: JMIR Formative Research

Date Submitted: May 22, 2020
(currently open for review)

Warning: This is an author submission that is not peer-reviewed or edited. Preprints - unless they show as "accepted" - should not be relied on to guide clinical practice or health-related behavior and should not be reported in news media as established information.

Psychological and behavioral responses of pregnant women during the early COVID-19 outbreak: Epicenter and non-epicenter regions

  • Huailiang Wu; 
  • Nga-Kwo Chan; 
  • Casper C.J. Zhang; 
  • Jian Huang; 
  • Huiyun Wang; 
  • Zongzhi Yin; 
  • Babatunde Akinwunmi; 
  • Wai-Kit Ming; 

ABSTRACT

Background:

By middle April 2020, the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has spread globally and caused more than 2 million confirmed cases and 140 thousand deaths. During this ongoing outbreak, the psychological demands of pregnant women needed to be acknowledged because they are likely to present symptoms of depression, stress or other mental discomfort during pregnancy.

Objective:

By middle April 2020, the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has spread globally and caused more than 2 million confirmed cases and 140 thousand deaths. During this ongoing outbreak, the psychological demands of pregnant women needed to be acknowledged because they are likely to present symptoms of depression, stress or other mental discomfort during pregnancy.

Methods:

A population-based cross-sectional survey was carried out to collect the data of sociodemographic and other psychological assessments and responses through a national online platform. A total of 1901 pregnant women were included in this study. Each participant finished standardized rating scales on stress, depression, and responses to COVID-19. Independent t-test and chi-squared tests were used to compare outcomes between epicenter and non-epicenters in China.

Results:

Pregnant women in the epicenter appeared to have a significantly higher prevalence rate of suspected PSTD than the non-epicentral region. A slightly higher proportion of pregnant women in epicenter worried about infectious risks and outcomes related to their fetus. However, no significant difference was found between the probable PPD levels of the two regions. Pregnant women in both epicenter and non-epicentral regions have adapted their behaviors to mitigate the infection risks.

Conclusions:

Epidemic situations could result in higher risks of psychological problems during pregnancy. Even outside of the epicenter, the depressive symptoms of pregnant women were more severe than during regular times. Several implications in antenatal care are also yielded for clinical application especially for countries in the early COVID-19 outbreak due to pandemic.


 Citation

Please cite as:

Wu H, Chan N, Zhang CC, Huang J, Wang H, Yin Z, Akinwunmi B, Ming W

Psychological and behavioral responses of pregnant women during the early COVID-19 outbreak: Epicenter and non-epicenter regions

JMIR Preprints. 22/05/2020:20530

DOI: 10.2196/preprints.20530

URL: https://preprints.jmir.org/preprint/20530

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