Preventing, mitigating, and treating women’s perinatal mental health problems during the Covid-19 pandemic: a scoping review of reviews with a qualitative narrative synthesis

Pietro Grussu*, Gianfranco J. Jorizzo, Fiona Alderdice, Rosa Maria Quatraro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Abstract

Meeting the mental health needs of perinatal women during the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious concern. This scoping review looks at how to prevent, mitigate or treat the mental health problems faced by women during a pandemic, and lays out suggestions for further research. Interventions for women with pre-existing mental health problems or health problems that develop during the perinatal period are included. The literature in English published in 2020–2021 is explored. Hand searches were conducted in PubMed and PsychINFO using the terms COVID-19, perinatal mental health and review. A total of 13 systematic and scoping reviews and meta-analyses were included. This scoping review shows that every woman should be assessed for mental health issues at every stage of her pregnancy and postpartum, with particular attention to women with a history of mental health problems. In the COVID-19 era, efforts should be focused on reducing the magnitude of stress and a perceived sense of lack of control experienced by perinatal women. Helpful instructions for women with perinatal mental health problems include mindfulness, distress tolerance skills, relaxation exercises, and interpersonal relationship building skills. Further longitudinal multicenter cohort studies could help improve the current knowledge. Promoting perinatal resilience and fostering positive coping skills, mitigating perinatal mental health problems, screening all prenatal and postpartum women for affective disorders, and using telehealth services appear to be indispensable resources. In future, governments and research agencies will need to pay greater attention to the trade-offs of reducing the spread of the virus through lockdowns, physical distancing, and quarantine measures and developing policies to mitigate the mental health impact on perinatal women.

Original languageEnglish
Article number358
Number of pages16
JournalBehavioral Sciences
Volume13
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2023

Keywords

  • Review
  • perinatal mental health
  • COVID-19
  • prevention
  • mitigation
  • treatment

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