Pandemic took a toll on pregnant women's mental health, study says

A pregnant person is seen in this file photo. (Pexels/

The mental health of pregnant women has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, warns a Montreal-based component of the international CONCEPTION study.

The impact of the pandemic is even greater than that of other historical crises, such as the 1998 ice storm or the Zika virus crisis, warns Anick Bérard, who is a researcher at CHU Sainte-Justine and a full professor in the Faculty of Pharmacy at the Université de Montréal.

She and her colleagues found that 23 per cent of pregnant or postpartum women suffered from major depressive symptoms. In nearly 40 per cent of these women, the symptoms ranged from moderate to severe, and were associated with anxiety and stress.

"While, as a rule, very few people were infected with SARS-CoV-2, everyone had to deal with the impact of the pandemic, such as health measures that sometimes varied from one week to the next," said Professor Bérard.

An anxiety-provoking impact on the general population, and on specific populations such as pregnant women, was therefore to be expected, based on the impact of previous crises.

"The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of pregnant women is twice as great as the ice storm, the forest fires in Alberta," she said.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on May 5, 2022. 


Breaking News alerts, info on contests, and special offers from partners