Does the Ability to Maintain An Exercise Routine during The Pandemic Help Support Maternal Mental Health?

Research Paper Title

Exercise routine change is associated with prenatal depression scores during the COVID-19 pandemic among pregnant women across the United States.

Background

The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected physical and mental health worldwide. Pregnant women already exhibit an elevated risk for depression compared to the general public, a pattern expected to be exacerbated by the pandemic. Certain lifestyle factors, including moderate exercise, may help support mental health during pregnancy, but it is unclear how the pandemic may impact these associations across different locations. Here, the researchers test whether:

  • Reported exercise routine alterations during the pandemic are associated with depression scores; and
  • The likelihood of reporting pandemic-related exercise changes varies between women living in metro areas and those in non-metro areas.

Methods

This cross-sectional study used data from the COVID-19 And Reproductive Effects (CARE) study, an online survey of pregnant women in the United States. Participants were recruited April-June 2020 (n = 1,856). Linear regression analyses assessed whether reported COVID-19-related exercise change was associated with depression score as measured by the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Survey. Logistic regression analyses tested whether a participant’s Rural-Urban Continuum Code classification of “metro” was linked with higher odds of reporting exercise changes compared to a “non-metro” classification.

Results

Women who reported exercise changes during the pandemic exhibited significantly higher depression scores compared to those reporting no changes. Moreover, individuals living in metro areas of all sizes were significantly more likely to report exercise changes compared to women living in non-metro areas.

Conclusions

These results suggest that the ability to maintain an exercise routine during the pandemic may help support maternal mental health. It may therefore be prudent for providers to explicitly ask patients how the pandemic has impacted their exercise routines and consider altered exercise routines a potential risk factor for depression. An effort should also be made to recommend exercises that are tailored to individual space restrictions and physical health.

Reference

Gildner, T.E., Laugier, E.J. & Thayer, Z.M. (2020) Exercise routine change is associated with prenatal depression scores during the COVID-19 pandemic among pregnant women across the United States. PLoS One. 15(12), pp.e0243188. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0243188. eCollection 2020.

Is there a Link between Maternal Depression & Child Mental Health?

Research Paper Title

Prevalence of mental health problems in preschoolers and the impact of maternal depression.

Background

A large number of children of depressed mothers have one or more mental disorders.

This study aimed to evaluate the impact of maternal depression on the mental health of 4-5-year-old children of adolescent mothers, according to the hypotheses generated from the model of accumulation.

Methods

Between October 2009 and March 2011, all pregnant adolescents who received prenatal care from the public health system in Pelotas (southern Brazil) were invited to participate in the study and have been prospectively followed.

Of these individuals, 413 participants were evaluated in the postpartum period and when the child was 2-3 years old and 4-5 years old (current stage).

The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire was used to assess mental health problems in children, and the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI)-Plus version was used to assess maternal depression.

The researchers applied a structured modelling approach to examine the relations between three different hypothesized life course models (accumulation, critical period, and mobility) and maternal depression.

After selecting the most appropriate model, they used a logistic regression analysis to assess the effect of depression on mental health problems in 4-5-year-old children of adolescent mothers. They also used the Chi square test to estimate the prevalence of mental health problems in 4-5-year-old children.

Results

The longer the time of exposure to maternal depression, the greater the probability that the child would present behavioural problems.

Conclusions

Investments in strategies to prevent mental disorders beginning in the gestational period are important.

Reference

Pires, A.J., de Matos, M.B., Scholl, C.C., Trettim, J.P., Coelho, F.T., da Cunha Coelho, F.M., Pinheiro, K.A.T., Pinheiro, R.T. & Queveedo, L. (2020) Prevalence of mental health problems in preschoolers and the impact of maternal depression. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 29(5), pp.605-616. doi: 10.1007/s00787-019-01381-x. Epub 2019 Aug 7.

Maternal Mental Health MATTERS: Yes it Does

Research Paper Title

Maternal Mental Health MATTERS.

Background

Depression and anxiety during pregnancy and the postpartum period are common and have significant negative impacts on mother and child.

Suicide is a leading cause of maternal mortality.

Evidence-based efforts for screening, assessment, and treatment improve maternal and infant mental health, as well as overall family health, throughout the lives of women and children.

Reference

Kimmel, M. (2020) Maternal Mental Health MATTERS. North Carolina Medical Journal. 81(1), pp.45-50. doi: 10.18043/ncm.81.1.45.