COVID-19 Pandemic Impacts on Pregnancy and Postpartum

Since it began in 2020, COVID-19 has impacted all of our lives in significant ways. While so many have had to adapt to new routines and ways of life, pregnant and new mothers have faced some particularly difficult challenges.

Results from our 2021 survey show that quality of life for all moms took a hit over the past 18 months as a result of the pandemic. After polling over a thousand women living in the United States with children between the ages 0-1, here's a closer look at our findings:

Mental Health Impacts:

  • The majority (68%) of moms reported increased feelings of isolation or poor mental health during pregnancy as well as increased feelings of depression, isolation, and/or disappointment in postpartum weeks.
  • Moms are spending a lot more time at home with their babies, but they are also missing activities that are crucial for maintaining mental health.
    • 80% aren't receiving visits from friends and family
    • 85% are avoiding going out in public when unnecessary
    • 51% aren't hiring childcare
    • 36% are avoiding getting outside for fresh air

Financial / Insurance Impacts:

  • Nearly 2 in 5 (38%) mothers with private insurance reported they or their partner lost a source of income due to COVID-19 circumstances.
  • The majority of mothers with Medicaid (72%) reported a pandemic-related loss of income and almost half of these women (45%) opted not to return to the workforce after their maternity leaves were over to avoid exposure and take care of children at home.

Healthcare Impacts:

  • One-third of all mothers in both groups (29%) were unable to attend all of their prenatal visits in person due to Covid restrictions.
  • When they were able to attend visits in person, many (60%) were unable to have their partner or support person by their side.

On the Vaccine:

  • Although the COVID-19 vaccine was not yet available when all of the survey respondents were pregnant or breastfeeding, of those offered the vaccine, 28% opted to receive it while breastfeeding, and 33% opted not to receive the vaccine while pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Almost 2/3 of mothers (63%) in both groups reported that their OB/GYN or primary care provider had never discussed the vaccine with them.
  • Among mothers with private insurance, 40% received the vaccine while breastfeeding, 28% chose not to receive the vaccine while pregnant or breastfeeding, and 30% reported the vaccine was not available to them while pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Among mothers with Medicaid, 16% received the vaccine while breastfeeding, 39% chose not to receive the vaccine while pregnant or breastfeeding, and 44% reported the vaccine was not available to them while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Insights from Our Medical Advisors

Samantha Spencer, PT, DPT

"The past year has not painted a great picture for the health and physical activity of new moms. The feelings of isolation and depression that many new moms reported feeling during the pandemic, coupled with the added stressors of older kids being home and lack of in-person support, it's not surprising that many moms were not engaging in activities to contribute to their postpartum recovery on their own."

Jessica Madden, MD

"As the future of the pandemic remains uncertain, it's critical that we're doing everything that is safely possible to improve outcomes for new and expectant mothers throughout their pregnancy, postpartum recovery, and breastfeeding journey. These women need all the support available from healthcare providers, friends and family, and employers to help them through the transition of becoming a mother."