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Authors

  1. Saleh, Lisette PhD, MSN, RNC-OB
  2. Canclini, Sharon RN, MS, PHNA-BC, CNE, FCN
  3. Greer, Karissa BSN
  4. Mathison, Cheryl RN, BSN
  5. Combs, Shanna M. MD, FACOG
  6. Dickerson, Beth BSN, BBCD
  7. Collins, Kiley MSN

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to gain insight into the experiences of women who gave birth in the United States during coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19). A mixed-methods study was performed using online surveys and interviews. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and interview transcripts were analyzed by thematic analysis resulting in major themes. Participants (n = 32) were women who had given birth on or after March 13, 2020. Of the participants, 34% experienced depression, 46% experienced mild to moderate anxiety, and 28% experienced severe anxiety symptoms. Four major themes emerged: expectations versus reality, early versus late COVID-19 experience, mental distress versus mental health, and healthcare policy versus COVID-19 confusion. Experiences varied based upon geographical location, parity, and proximity to support. Short and long-term effects of COVID-19 on participants and their families were recognized. It is important to acknowledge the confusion experienced in many aspects of the birthing experience due to developing or conflicting pandemic or popular media information. Aligning expectations through providing clear, up-to-date information is helpful in decreasing mental distress. Finally, the impact of COVID-19 highlighted the critical need for professional and focused familial support and follow-up for women experiencing pregnancy-related mental health symptoms.