Pandemic-related grief can disrupt the bond between mother and baby

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The emotional connection between the mother and the newborn baby can lay the foundation for the child’s development and family outcomes. However, poor postnatal mental health can make it difficult for mothers to form this connection. This is known as the bond between mother and child. Considering the increased depression and anxiety symptoms caused by the psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on women who gave birth recently, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital conducted a study of mother-child union during the pandemic. Based on the results of an online study called the PEACE study (perinatal experience and COVID-19 effect), they found that symptoms of grief and depression due to loss of experience during a pandemic were associated with reduced levels of maternal-child binding. I found that I was doing it. However, anxiety symptoms were not so, and women who reported health concerns associated with COVID-19, in contrast, were more likely to report higher levels of infant ties.The results are published in Pediatrics research..

“Being a mother is a complex experience, Postpartum period “Women may be at increased risk of mental health concerns,” said Dr. Cindy Liu, corresponding author of Brigham’s Department of Pediatric Neonatal Medicine and Psychiatry. Pandemic May affect new formative relationships established between Mother’s And baby. “

“The perinatal period is a vulnerable period for both new mothers and their babies,” said the study’s co-author, Dr. Karmina Elday, MD, School of Pediatric Neonatal Medicine. “The binding process is particularly vulnerable if the mother experiences postpartum depression and can affect her health and well-being, as well as her baby’s neurodevelopment. This is the guidance we as experts predict. It’s an opportunity to intervene and strengthen. Helping mothers suffering from depression and leading their babies and families to long-term success. “

To study the association between mother-child bond experience in postpartum women and mental health symptoms, psychological experience, and COVID-19-related concerns, researchers are part of a PEACE study initiated in May 2020. We used data from an online survey collected as. Postnatal women who gave birth in the last 6 months were invited to participate and data were collected until August 2020. Respondents were asked to assess the level of mother-child bond. To capture the grief associated with the pandemic, the team included words about the signs and symptoms of grief that women may have experienced through the pandemic (for example, “a stunned or vague feeling”, “life”. I felt it was empty “,” I felt bitter “).

Overall, the team found depressive symptoms, Anxiety symptoms, Was associated with a low evaluation of mother-child ties. The team also found that a higher level of self-efficacy, a self-confidence in the mother’s ability to raise and care for her child, was associated with a higher level of maternal and child ties. Social support (perceived support of a person from family, friends, or important others) was not associated with the level of maternal bond.

“Currently, the focus is on growth Social support “But our work also needs to consider channeling support to mothers experiencing depression, including mothers who feel particularly vague or surreal as a result of a pandemic. Suggests .. The message to the mother is “Don’t dismiss the impact of a pandemic on your well-being and how it affects your relationship with others, including your baby.”

The authors note that their study is research-based and can be affected by participant recall bias and cannot prove a causal relationship. The study also consisted primarily of white women with high socioeconomic status, so the findings may not be generalized across demographics.

The team plans to conduct a long-term longitudinal study of mothers and babies to continue observing and defining the bonds between mothers and babies.

“Our study emphasizes the importance of postpartum depression support and screening when visiting mothers’ follow-up visits and healthy children,” says Liu. “It is also important to assess the unique COVID-19-related concerns that families may experience to help foster relationships within the family.”

Depression and anxiety increase among new mothers in the COVID-19 pandemic

For more information:
Liu CH et al. “COVID-19 Psychological risk to mother-child bond during pandemic” Pediatrics research DOI: 10.1038 / s41390-021-01751-9

Quote: Pandemic-related sorrows, taken from on October 14, 2021 between mother and baby May interfere with the bond between the two (October 14, 2021)

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Pandemic-related grief can disrupt the bond between mother and baby

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