Pregnant women showed severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety during Italy’s lockdown according to a national survey. Previous survey results show that the lockdown posed risk factors for psychological disturbances in the general population. The current survey directed toward pregnant women with results published in the Archives of Women’s Mental Health, reflected similar results.

The researchers conducted a national survey during Italy’s first period of lockdown (March 18-31, 2020) to investigate its impact on pregnant women. Using a multivariable logistic regression model, the study authors explored the association of selected outcomes (concern, anxiety and PTSD symptoms) with age, gestational weeks, parity, days of lockdown, assisted reproductive technology use, self-reported psychopathological history, and previous perinatal losses. A total of 737 women completed the survey.

The results showed 39.8% of participants reported previous anxiety, depression, and other psychological disorder diagnoses. Regarding concern over COVID-19, using a Likert scale of 0 to 3, women with no previous psychopathological diagnosis scored a median of 2.28 [2.00; 2.71], compared to 2.43 [2.14; 2.71] of women with a psychopathological history (P = .003). The difference was more pronounced when it came to health-related issues rather than society-related issues. A previous anxiety diagnosis was the only factor to significantly predict current high levels of concern during lockdown.


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Clinical PTSD symptoms were present in 10.2% of women. Women with a history of anxiety or depression showed increased PTSD symptoms.

“Results of this nationwide survey conducted during the first period of ‘lockdown’ in Italy show that SARS-CoV-2–negative pregnant women were very concerned about COVID-19 and showed a high prevalence of anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms,” the researchers stated. “When taking a medical history, it is critical that caregivers ask women about any history of anxiety and/or depression as this seems to be the most important factor in predicting COVID-19 associated distress and psychopathology during pregnancy.”

Reference

Ravaldi C, Ricca V, Wilson A, Homer C, Vannacci A. Previous psychopathology predicted severe COVID-19 concern, anxiety, and PTSD symptoms in pregnant women during “lockdown” in Italy. Arch Womens Ment Health. 2020 Nov 20:1–4. doi: 10.1007/s00737-020-01086-0