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Article

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Pregnant Women with Perinatal Anxiety Symptoms in Pakistan: A Qualitative Study

1
Human Development Research Foundation, House No 06, Street No 55, F-7/4, Islamabad 44000, Pakistan
2
Department of Research, Rawalpindi Medical University, Tipu Rd, Chamanzar Colony, Rawalpindi 46000, Pakistan
3
Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health 615 N. Wolfe St., Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
4
Institute of Population Health, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L12 2AP, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to the research.
Academic Editors: Finiki Nearchou and Cliodhna O’Connor
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(16), 8237; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168237
Received: 26 May 2021 / Revised: 23 July 2021 / Accepted: 24 July 2021 / Published: 4 August 2021
The impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on people with existing mental health conditions is likely to be high. We explored the consequences of the pandemic on women of lower socioeconomic status with prenatal anxiety symptoms living in urban Rawalpindi, Pakistan. This qualitative study was embedded within an ongoing randomized controlled trial of psychosocial intervention for prenatal anxiety at a public hospital in Rawalpindi. The participants were women with symptoms of anxiety who had received or were receiving the intervention. In total, 27 interviews were conducted; 13 women were in their third trimester of pregnancy, and 14 were in their postnatal period. The data were collected through in-depth interviews and analyzed using framework analysis. Key findings were that during the pandemic, women experienced increased perinatal anxiety that was linked to greater financial problems, uncertainties over availability of appropriate obstetric healthcare, and a lack of trust in health professionals. Women experienced increased levels of fear for their own and their baby’s health and safety, especially due to fear of infection. COVID-19 appears to have contributed to symptoms of anxiety in women already predisposed to anxiety in the prenatal period. Efforts to address women’s heightened anxiety due to the pandemic are likely to have public health benefits. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; pregnant women; anxiety symptoms; mental health; low- and middle-income countries COVID-19; pregnant women; anxiety symptoms; mental health; low- and middle-income countries
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MDPI and ACS Style

Rauf, N.; Zulfiqar, S.; Mumtaz, S.; Maryam, H.; Shoukat, R.; Malik, A.; Rowther, A.A.; Rahman, A.; Surkan, P.J.; Atif, N. The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Pregnant Women with Perinatal Anxiety Symptoms in Pakistan: A Qualitative Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 8237. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168237

AMA Style

Rauf N, Zulfiqar S, Mumtaz S, Maryam H, Shoukat R, Malik A, Rowther AA, Rahman A, Surkan PJ, Atif N. The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Pregnant Women with Perinatal Anxiety Symptoms in Pakistan: A Qualitative Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(16):8237. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168237

Chicago/Turabian Style

Rauf, Nida, Shaffaq Zulfiqar, Sidra Mumtaz, Hadia Maryam, Rabail Shoukat, Abid Malik, Armaan A. Rowther, Atif Rahman, Pamela J. Surkan, and Najia Atif. 2021. "The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Pregnant Women with Perinatal Anxiety Symptoms in Pakistan: A Qualitative Study" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 16: 8237. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168237

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