New mothers negatively impacted by COVID-19 pandemic policie
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Researchers examined the effects certain pandemic policies have had on the mental health of Canadian women who gave birth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The purpose of this study was to examine how people in Canada who gave birth during the pandemic were affected by policies aimed at limiting interpersonal contact to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission in hospitals and during the early weeks postpartum.

Investigators took a social constructionist approach and used a qualitative descriptive methodology. Sampling methods were purposive and involved a mix of convenience and snowball sampling via social media and email. Study inclusion was extended to anyone aged 18 years or more who were located in Canada and was pregnant or had given birth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sixty-five interviews were conducted; data from 57 women who had already delivered were included in the analysis. They identified the following 4 themes:

- Negative postpartum experience in hospital owing to the absence of a support person(s);

- Poor postpartum mental health, especially in women with preexisting mental health conditions and those who had had medically complicated deliveries;

- Asking for help despite public health regulations that prohibited doing so;

- And problems with breastfeeding owing to limited in-person follow-up care and lack of in-person breastfeeding support.

Policies that restrict the presence of support persons in hospitals and at home during the postpartum period appear to be causing harm. Measures to mitigate the consequences of these policies could include encouraging pregnant people to plan for additional postpartum support, allowing a support person to remain for the entire hospital stay, and offering additional breastfeeding support.