Q: [Adults] I’m pregnant and I’ve heard a lot about postpartum depression. Is the pandemic impacting this issue for new moms?Maternal depression is the most common complication of pregnancy in the nation. An estimated one in five new or expectant mothers will experience a mental health disorder during pregnancy or in the first year following childbirth. These disorders include depression, anxiety and the less prevalent but most severe of the disorders, postpartum psychosis. Low-income populations often have higher prevalence of depression and sadly, the impact of the woman’s early childhood hardship can influence depression or anxiety later in her life. The COVID pandemic has added additional layers of concern for new moms and moms-to-be. In addition to increased isolation and stress around sheltering-in-place, there are economic pressures, fears and anxiety about the future, increased risk of domestic violence and fear of exposure to COVID. The birthing experience has also changed with restrictions on family members and visitors being present. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, experts advise:
- Stay connected to others (phone, virtual gatherings and support groups).
- Ask for help (friends, neighbors and family).
- Talk to your physician or call the OC Crisis Hotline: 800-273-8255.
David C. Lagrew, Jr., MD, is the executive director and medical executive leader for the Women and Children’s Services Institute at Providence St. Joseph Health’s Southern California Region. He also serves on the board of directors for MOMS Orange County.