Prenatal maternal stress during the COVID-19 pandemic: A study of pregnant women in Quebec, Canada



Pearson J, Baudry C, Bessette J, Bernier A, Lemelin J-P, Matte-Gagné C, Tarabulsy G, Fréchette-Boilard G. (2023). Stress maternel prénatal en contexte de pandémie de la COVID-19 : Vécu des femmes enceintes au Québec. Revue de psychoéducation. 52(1), 70-88.


Introduction : Changes in the care of pregnant women and childbirth conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic may increase the stress experienced during pregnancy. This study aims to examine prenatal maternal stress in the context of the pandemic and the variables associated with its variations.

Methods : 180 pregnant women from the province of Quebec, Canada, reported their general stress, the impact of the pandemic on their pregnancy, their stress related to the pandemic, their sociodemographic data as well as information about their pregnancy and exposure to the pandemic.

Results : 16 % of the women in the sample reported a high level of general stress, 34 % reported that the pandemic had a significant impact on their pregnancy, and 9 % reported a high level of stress related to the pandemic. Younger mothers, the presence of other children in the family, a higher number of weeks of lockdown during pregnancy, and having been tested for COVID-19 during pregnancy are associated with higher general stress. Mothers reported a higher perceived impact of the pandemic on pregnancy when they did not have other children, did not experience complications during pregnancy, used alcohol during the prenatal period, and when a member of their immediate family tested positive for COVID-19 during pregnancy.

Conclusion : The characteristics of expectant mothers, their pregnancy, and their exposure to COVID-19 should be considered in the provision of prenatal services and the follow-up of children born in the context of the pandemic.