EHS-COVID (428) Maternal mental health is being affected by poverty and COVID-19

11 July, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic, and especially its socioeconomic aspects, amplifies existing inequalities and leads to increased mental health problems among women in Colombia. Citation and extracts below.

CITATION: Maternal mental health is being affected by poverty and COVID-19

Published online: June 24, 2021

Miguel Parra-Saavedra, Jezid Miranda

The Lancet Global Health

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(21)00245-X/fulltext

SELECTED EXTRACTS

Scientific efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, in respect to pregnancy, have shown that COVID-19 infection is associated with a substantial increase in severe maternal morbidity and mortality, preterm birth, and low birthweight... Yet, less attention has been paid to the maternal health of uninfected women. Challenges that pregnant women face during the COVID-19 pandemic include fear of viral exposure, concerns about their health and of their unborn children, social isolation, childcare, and the increase of job, food, housing, and health-care insecurity...

Andrés Moya and colleagues analyse the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated policy responses on maternal mental health in a highly vulnerable and violence-exposed population in the context of a fragile and conflict-stricken setting in Tumaco, Colombia... https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(21)00217-5/fulltext

In this worrying scene, the COVID-19 pandemic arrived and amplified existing inequalities. Moya and colleagues report that caregiver mental health significantly worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, revealing a significant increase in anxiety, depression, and parenting stress... These results show that the effect was greater among people who had a history of forced displacement, low levels of education, pre-existing mental health conditions, and other COVID-19-related stressors, and that these stressors increased mental health detriment in a dose-dependent manner...

We believe that, from a health-care policy perspective, legislators and those planning health-care access are responsible for considering the effect of COVID-19 on vulnerable communities, and should ensure mental health services and social support targeting gender-based violence. Regular income support for vulnerable families need to be assured...

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator, neil@hifa.org www.hifa.org