• Mental health status of pregnant and breastfeeding women during the COVID-19 pandemic-A multinational cross-sectional study.

      Ceulemans, Michael; Foulon, Veerle; Ngo, Elin; Panchaud, Alice; Winterfeld, Ursula; Pomar, Léo; Lambelet, Valentine; Cleary, Brian; O'Shaughnessy, Fergal; Passier, Anneke; et al. (2021-02-13)
      Introduction: Evidence on perinatal mental health during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and its potential determinants is limited. Therefore, this multinational study aimed to assess the mental health status of pregnant and breastfeeding women during the pandemic, and to explore potential associations between depressive symptoms, anxiety, and stress and women's sociodemographic, health, and reproductive characteristics. Material and methods: A cross-sectional, web-based study was performed in Ireland, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the UK between 16 June and 14 July 2020. Pregnant and breastfeeding women up to 3 months postpartum who were older than 18 years of age were eligible. The online, anonymous survey was promoted through social media and hospital websites. The Edinburgh Depression Scale (EDS), the Generalized Anxiety Disorder seven-item scale (GAD-7), and the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) were used to assess mental health status. Regression model analysis was used to identify factors associated with poor mental health status. Results: In total, 9041 women participated (including 3907 pregnant and 5134 breastfeeding women). The prevalence of major depressive symptoms (EDS ≥ 13) was 15% in the pregnancy cohort and and 13% the breastfeeding cohort. Moderate to severe generalized anxiety symptoms (GAD ≥ 10) were found among 11% and 10% of the pregnant and breastfeeding women. The mean (±SD) PSS scores for pregnant and breastfeeding women were 14.1 ± 6.6 and 13.7 ± 6.6, respectively. Risk factors associated with poor mental health included having a chronic mental illness, a chronic somatic illness in the postpartum period, smoking, having an unplanned pregnancy, professional status, and living in the UK or Ireland. Conclusions: This multinational study found high levels of depressive symptoms and generalized anxiety among pregnant and breastfeeding women during the COVID-19 outbreak. The study findings underline the importance of monitoring perinatal mental health during pandemics and other societal crises to safeguard maternal and infant mental health.
    • Vaccine Willingness and Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Women's Perinatal Experiences and Practices-A Multinational, Cross-Sectional Study Covering the First Wave of the Pandemic.

      Ceulemans, Michael; Foulon, Veerle; Panchaud, Alice; Winterfeld, Ursula; Pomar, Léo; Lambelet, Valentine; Cleary, Brian; O'Shaughnessy, Fergal; Passier, Anneke; Richardson, Jonathan Luke; et al. (2021-03-24)
      The COVID-19 pandemic may be of particular concern for pregnant and breastfeeding women. We aimed to explore their beliefs about the coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccine willingness and to assess the impact of the pandemic on perinatal experiences and practices. A multinational, cross-sectional, web-based study was performed in six European countries between April and July 2020. The anonymous survey was promoted via social media. In total, 16,063 women participated (including 6661 pregnant and 9402 breastfeeding women). Most responses were collected from Belgium (44%), Norway (18%) and the Netherlands (16%), followed by Switzerland (11%), Ireland (10%) and the UK (3%). Despite differences between countries, COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy was identified among 40-50% of the respondents at the end of the first wave of the pandemic and was higher among pregnant women. Education level and employment status were associated with vaccine hesitancy. The first wave had an adverse impact on pregnancy experiences and disrupted access to health services and breastfeeding support for many women. In the future, access to health care and support should be maintained at all times. Evidence-based and tailored information on COVID-19 vaccines should also be provided to pregnant and breastfeeding women to avoid unfounded concerns about the vaccines and to support shared decision making in this population.