Maternal Mental Health and Covid-19 - Play Nourish Thrive

Maternal Mental Health and Covid-19

Even at the best of times, being a new parent can be incredibly challenging. A challenge which requires a ‘village’ of support. However, having a baby during the Covid-19 pandemic has meant much of this support has been on hold. When I was only recently able to attend a mothers’ group, our Community Health Nurse disclosed to me that they had seen a rapid rise in maternal mental health issues due to the pandemic.

🌿 What can research tell us about the impact of the pandemic on maternal mental health?

A recent study which surveyed 900 pregnant or postpartum people found that the number of women who met the criteria for depression or moderate/severe anxiety almost tripled during the pandemic. Depression rose from 15% to 41%, and anxiety rose from 29% to 72%.(1) Larger systematic reviews (studies which summarise the findings of many studies) found more conservative, but still similarly alarming results.(2)

🌿 Why the increase?

In general, pregnant and postpartum people are particularly vulnerable to mental health issues.(3) However, the pandemic has exacerbated this due to declines in sleep quality, less opportunity to leave the house or exercise, closure of non-essential services, and availability of assistance from others.(4)

🌿 What does all this mean for a pregnant person or new parent?

It means that if you feel like you are failing right now, keeping up with the demands of new parenthood, you are not alone. Conversely, if you feel like you are doing an awesome job, then YES, you are. You are parenting during the hardest time in recent history, and your baby/ies are so lucky to have a parent like you!

🌿 Where can you get support?

Although the research may back up how you are feeling, you do not need to grin and bear it on your own. There are two fantastic organisations for pregnant and postpartum people, including new dads: Gidget Foundation Australia (1300 851 758, and PANDA’s National Perinatal Mental Health Helpline (1300 726 306, They are sometimes quite busy, but it is worth getting your name in their system sooner rather than later!


  • Davenport et al. 2020. Fron Glob Womens Health
  • Hessami et al. 2020. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med
  • Lim et al. 2021. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand
  • Ingram et al. 2020. Front Psychol
postpartum depression facts mental Health Support
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