Soon after the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended temporarily separating newborns from mothers who tested positive for COVID-19 immediately after delivery. In a retrospective cohort study of 224 new mothers delivering at a New York hospital between March 18 and May 12, 2020, researchers found that the incidence of PPD was 10.3% among COVID-19-positive women separated from their newborns, compared to 2.4% of women testing negative for COVID-19. This is probably an underestimate of the prevalence of PPD in this population, given the retrospective nature of the study.
While this study did not specifically discuss the issue of pregnancy-related trauma, I suspect that we will see a fair number of women who experienced significant distress related to the pandemic. Women may also experience post-traumatic symptoms, especially those who were separated from their newborns after delivery and those with severe COVID-19 illness during pregnancy or after delivery.
Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD