Srinagar: When 32-year-old Shazia (name-changed) tested positive for Covid-19 last year, she was weighed down with fear.
“She feared that her child might get infected during the hospital stay and will be separated from her in the process. What if the child didn’t receive proper care and got unwell? These thoughts haunted her day in and day out. With the result, she fell prey to depression,” the doctor at Child and Maternity Hospital in GMC Anantnag, Kashmir, said.
Similarly, another 34-year-old pregnant female developed insomnia after testing positive for Covid-19.
“Her stress levels had increased after contracting the virus. This resulted in sleeplessness and frequent crying outbursts. She feared that she will undergo miscarriage or her baby might end up with anomalies,” the doctor said.
COVID 19 in Kashmir inevitably results in increased stress and anxiety among the general population. It added an increased risk to pregnant females who tested positive for Covid-19. Many of them had to battle stress, anxiety, and depression during their quarantine period.
To gauge the extent of emotional difficulties in pregnant females who tested positive for Covid-19, a study was conducted by Child and Maternity Hospital of Government Medical College Anantnag, Kashmir.
Titled`Emotional difficulties in pregnant females who tested positive for COVID 19: A cross-sectional study from South Kashmir, India’. the 2022 study was published in the Journal of Education and Health Promotion.
A total of 63 Covid positive pregnant females were evaluated for the study.
“The prevalence of depression, anxiety, and stress was 33.32%, 50.83%, and 60.3%, respectively. Moreover, depression was found to be higher in educated, working females and those in the third trimester. The bad obstetric history was found to be an independent factor for higher levels of emotional difficulties in them. This calls for extra measures to promote the mental health and resilience of pregnant females, especially during a crisis,” the study said.
Lecturer IMHANS and co-author of the study, Dr. Rehana Amin said Covid-19 in pregnant women proved to be a challenging situation.
“Pregnant women are more prone to anxiety and depression during the pandemic. It may increase the risk of postnatal depression in the mother and more likely to induce cognitive and behavioral problems in the child,” Dr. Rehana said.
She noted that the present study can make obstetricians aware of the psychological problems of Covid pregnant ladies so that early diagnosis and appropriate intervention can be made to facilitate smooth pregnancy and mental health of such ladies.
Dr. Rehana emphasized that stress management in Covid-positive pregnant females can be achieved through proper psychoeducation and awareness.
“Further, females should seek proper social support by remaining connected to their loved ones. They can also opt for distraction techniques to keep the unnecessary thoughts at bay,” she said.