Angels–(work wire) – A global study released today from Pregestery, the leader in developing and conducting observational studies during pregnancy, highlights the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health behaviors during pregnancy and its association with mental health disorders. The study, conducted by Dr. Diego Wiesinski, CEO of Pregistry and a team of collaborators in 12 countries, showed elevated mental health distress in one of three pregnant women and a moderate impact on health behaviors.
Research consistently shows that COVID-19 continues to disrupt physical activity, sleep, and eating behaviors in the general population, mostly due to quarantine and physical distancing measures. This decrease in healthy behaviors has been linked to poorer mental health and well-being. The Pregistry Study, entitled COVID-19 Perceived Effects on Sleep, Fitness, Diet, and Associations with Mental Health during Pregnancy: A Transnational Study, highlights the effects of the pandemic on the pregnant population, whose mental health is critical. Given the potential short- and long-term effects on mother and child.
“Given the documented impacts on mental health in the general population due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including depression, anxiety and PTSD, it is critical to understand how we can support the most vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women, in this challenging situation,” said Dr. Wyszynski. “Our recent work has revealed a link between mental health distress and deteriorating health behaviors, suggesting that attention to sleep, diet, and fitness-related disorders is important for promoting mental health during pregnancy amidst significant stress.”
In a recent survey of 3,692 pregnant women, one in three reported elevated mental health distress, and about 30-45% of participants reported a moderate to high impact on health behaviors across sleep, fitness and diet. Interestingly, the effect on each domain of health behavior (sleep, diet, and fitness) was independently associated with increased mental health distress. Other findings showed that a sense of community may mitigate the impact of insufficient sleep and other affected health behaviors on mental health distress, while, conversely, loneliness may exacerbate risk. Furthermore, the research shows that addressing sleep, diet and fitness changes together may help prevent mental health stressors during pregnancy at times of major stress, highlighting the importance of increasing access to support for this group during the pandemic.
Adjusting for a range of sociodemographic factors, inadequate sleep was found to be most associated with mental health distress, with pregnant women reporting the highest negative impact. The observed COVID-19 effect on diet showed the second strongest pattern of association with poor mental health. Finally, the reported effect on fitness was also associated with higher mental health distress, which is consistent with a large evidence base linking physical activity and mental health in the general population and during pregnancy. In the study, positive feelings of gratitude and a sense of community were found to be associated with lower reported inadequate health behavior. In addition, loneliness has emerged as a potential risk factor for increased reports of adverse impact.
Contributors to the study include Carmel W. Choi, Hana H. Kim, Archana Basu, Alex SF Kwong, Sonia Hernandez Diaz, Diego F. Wiesinski, and Karstan C. Quinnen.
Pregistry is a global leader in the development and conduct of observational studies to evaluate the safety of drugs and vaccines when used during pregnancy. With over 70 pregnancy specialists, covering a range of clinical, pre-clinical, safety, regulatory, marketing and IT needs, the focus is on making sure that both mother and baby are healthy and safe and that clinicians have the information needed to be able to. Explain the potential benefits and risks of medications during pregnancy. Pregistry also provides pregnant women with a secure space to connect with a global community of experts and peers at no cost. To learn more, please visit: https://www.pregistry.com. More Pregistry news can be found at Pregistry.com/News.