Effects of coronavirus 19 pandemic on maternal anxiety during pregnancy: a prospectic observational study

J Perinat Med. 2020 Jul 28;48(6):545-550. doi: 10.1515/jpm-2020-0182.


Objectives Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new respiratory disease that is spreading widely throughout the world. The aim of this study was to evaluate the psychological impact of COVID-19 pandemic on pregnant women in Italy. Methods We considered 200 pregnancies attending our antenatal clinic. A questionnaire was sent to each woman in the days of maximum spread of COVID-19. Sectional was finalized to acquire in 18 items maternal characteristics and to test the women's perception of infection. Section included the State-trait anxiety inventory (STAI) 40 items validated test for scoring trait anxiety (basal anxiety, STAI-T) and state anxiety (related to the ongoing pandemic, STAI-S). An abnormal value of STAI was considered when ≥40. Results The questionnaire was completed by 178 women (89%). Fear that COVID-19 could induce fetal structural anomalies was present in 47%, fetal growth restriction in 65% and preterm birth in 51% of the women. The median value of STAI-T was 37 and in 38.2% of the study group STAI-T score ≥40 was evidenced. STAI-S values were significantly higher with an increase of median values of 12 points (p≤0.0001). There was a positive linear correlation between STAI-T and STAI-S (Pearson=0.59; p≤0.0001). A higher educational status was associated with increased prevalence of STAI-S ≥ 40(p=0.004). Subgrouping women by the other variables considered did not show any further difference. Conclusions COVID-19 pandemic induces a doubling of the number of women who reached abnormal level of anxiety. These findings validate the role of the remote use of questionnaire for identifying women at higher risk of anxiety disorders allowing the activation of support procedures.

Keywords: COVID-19; maternal anxiety; pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / epidemiology*
  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Pandemics*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Complications / psychology*
  • Pregnant Women / psychology
  • Prospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires