Tishra Beeson (Physical Education, School & Public Health), Amy Claridge (Department of Child Development and Family Sciences)
Perinatal and Post-Partum Depression During COVID-19
Mary Korth, Department of Health Sciences,
Tishra Beeson, DrPH, MPH, Department of Health Sciences,
Amy Claridge, PhD, LMFT, Department of Child Development & Family Science
Post-partum depression impacts the health and well-being of both mothers and children, leading to higher rates of chronic depression in mothers and resulting in physical, emotional, and cognitive deficits in children (American Public Health Association, [APHA], 2019). Our study looked at how the stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to perinatal and post-partum depression.
This mixed-methods study collected data from online surveys using a convenience sample of expectant mothers with due dates from April-July 2020. Depression scores of participants were collected using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale during the third trimester of pregnancy and 4-8 weeks post-partum (EPDS; Cox et. Al, 1987). Participants provided a variety of demographic data. Depression scores were evaluated using bivariate analysis and multiple logistic regression analysis to examine the relationships between depression scores and independent variables.
Our study found that 46% of expectant mothers met the criteria for clinical depression during the perinatal period, with 26.3% meeting this threshold post-partum. Mothers with positive EPDS scores perinatally were 6.1 times more likely to screen positive in the post-partum period. Household income was found to be a protective factor against depression scores.
Our findings highlight the need for consistent and frequent EPDS screenings in the perinatal period. Our study was limited by the fact that our sample consisted of highly educated, partnered women with high financial resources. Future studies including a more representative sample may reveal significant relationships between financial resources and post-partum depression.
American Public Health Association (2019, November 5). A Global Call to Action to Improve Health Through Investment in Maternal Mental Health. (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2021, from https://www.apha.org/policies-and-advocacy/public-health-policy-statements/policy-database/2020/01/10/a-global-call-to-action-to-improve-health-through-investment-in-maternal-mental-health