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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on antenatal care provision and associated mental health, obstetric and neonatal outcomes

Authors
  • Woods, Anousha
  • Ballard, Emma
  • Kumar, Sailesh
  • Mackle, Tracey
  • Callaway, Leonie
  • Kothari, Alka
  • De Jersey, Susan
  • Bennett, Elizabeth
  • Foxcroft, Katie
  • Willis, Meg
  • Amoako, Akwasi
  • Lehner, Christoph
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Perinatal Medicine
Publisher
Walter de Gruyter GmbH
Publication Date
Oct 26, 2023
Volume
52
Issue
2
Pages
222–229
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1515/jpm-2023-0196
PMID: 37883210
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

Objectives The COVID-19 pandemic imposed many challenges on pregnant women, including rapid changes to antenatal care aimed at reducing the societal spread of the virus. This study aimed to assess how the pandemic affected perinatal mental health and other pregnancy and neonatal outcomes in a tertiary unit in Queensland, Australia. Methods This was a retrospective cohort study of pregnant women booked for care between March 2019 – June 2019 and March 2020 – June 2020. A total of 1984 women were included with no confirmed cases of COVID-19. The primary outcome of this study was adverse maternal mental health defined as an Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale score of ≥13 or an affirmative response to ‘EPDS Question 10’. Secondary outcomes were preterm birth <37 weeks and <32 weeks, mode of birth, low birth weight, malpresentation in labour, hypertensive disease, anaemia, iron/vitamin B12 deficiency, stillbirth and a composite of neonatal morbidity and mortality. Results There were no differences in the primary perinatal mental health outcomes. The rates of composite adverse neonatal outcomes (27 vs. 34 %, p<0.001) during the pandemic were higher; however, there was no difference in perinatal mortality (p=1.0), preterm birth (p=0.44) or mode of delivery (p=0.38). Conclusions Although there were no adverse consequences on maternal mental health during the pandemic, there was a concerning increase in neonatal morbidity potentially due to the altered model of maternity care implemented in the early COVID-19 pandemic.

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