Article Title

Can positive mindsets be protective against stress and isolation experienced during the covid-19 pandemic? A mixed methods approach to understanding emotional health and wellbeing needs of perinatal women

Abstract

The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between emotional health and wellbeing and support needs of perinatal women during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to understand their experiences and need for support. This is a potentially vulnerable group and a critical developmental phase for women and infants. A mixed methods design was used to collect quantitative and qualitative data that provided a robust insight into their unique needs. A total of 174 women who were either pregnant or post-birth participated. The main findings demonstrated that women in this cohort experienced varying levels of stress and isolation but also positive experiences. Exploring the relationship between mental health (perceived stress and wellbeing) and resilience (mindfulness and self-compassion) revealed an association between positive mental health and higher levels of mindfulness and self-compassion. Positive mindsets may be protective against psychological distress for the mother and her child, suggesting that meditation-based or similar training might help support expectant and post-birth mothers during times of crisis, such as a pandemic. This information could be used to make recommendations for future planning for practitioners and policymakers in preparing for prospective infection waves, pandemics, or natural disasters, and could be used to develop targeted tools, support, and care.

Keywords

COVID-19, perinatal, pregnancy, human isolation, loneliness, mental health, wellbeing, mindfulness, self-compassion, mixed methods, experiences and perceptions

Link to Publisher Version (URL)

10.3390/ijerph18136958

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