Mental Health Is on the Decline for New Moms Amid Pandemic

The moms are not alright

maternal mental health
Like many of us, moms are having a rough go of it.
Getty Images/EyeEm

Obviously no one’s doing particularly well right now. In fact, there is actual numerical evidence to suggest that most of us are doing worse than ever. But compared to new moms trying to navigate motherhood amid an ever-imploding global crisis, the rest of us have it easy.

While one in seven new mothers struggle with anxiety and depression in the perinatal period — the period of time shortly before and after giving birth — a recent study suggests that outlook has grown significantly worse amid the pandemic. 

The study, published Friday in Frontiers in Global Women’s Health, found that anxiety and depression in new moms have almost tripled during the pandemic. While previously, 29-percent of women surveyed experienced moderate to high anxiety symptoms, and 15-percent experienced depressive symptoms, the study found that those numbers have leapt up to 79- and 41-percent, respectively.

Unfortunately, these numbers aren’t exactly surprising. As Ryan Van Lieshout noted in The Conversation, “adjusting to parenthood after delivery is challenging under normal circumstances, let alone in the midst of a global pandemic.”

“Postpartum depression is the result of a dynamic interplay between biological, psychological and social risk factors, all of which can be amplified by the current pandemic,” he added.

Naturally, this is bad news for both moms and babies. According to the study, depression and anxiety in new mothers are associated with increased risk of a variety of health conditions, including preterm delivery, reduced mother-infant bonding, and delays in cognitive/emotional development of the infant.

“This highlights the strong need for heightened assessment and treatment of maternal mental health,” the study authors wrote.

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