The Disproportionate Burden of the COVID-19 Pandemic Among Pregnant Black Women

Psychiatry Res. 2020 Nov;293:113475. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113475. Epub 2020 Sep 24.


The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted the well-being of vulnerable populations in the US, including Black people. The impact on pregnant women is of special concern for the intrauterine and post-natal development of their offspring. We evaluated in an online survey a sample of 913 pregnant women, 216 Black, 571 White, 126 Other, during a 2-week stay-at-home mandate in the Philadelphia region. We applied logistic regression models and analysis of covariance to examine general and pregnancy-specific worries and negative consequences arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and resilience. Black pregnant women reported greater likelihood of having their employment negatively impacted, more concerns about a lasting economic burden, and more worries about their prenatal care, birth experience, and post-natal needs. In the full sample, 11.1% of women met screening criteria for anxiety and 9.9% met criteria for depression. Black women were more likely to meet criteria for depression than White women, but this difference was not significant accounting for covariates. Resilience factors including self-reliance and emotion regulation were higher in Black women. Racial disparities related to COVID-19 in pregnant women can advance the understanding of pregnancy related stressors and improve early identification of mental health needs.

Keywords: COVID-19; Depression; Pregnancy; Racial disparity; Resilience; Stress, Anxiety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Betacoronavirus*
  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / psychology*
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics* / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / psychology
  • Pregnant Women / psychology*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult