The experience of life during the pandemic and the impact of COVID-19 guidelines for perinatal care have changed the maternal-fetal experience of pregnancy and birth, and the maternal-infant experience during the postnatal period.
COVID-19 and the precautionary changes in prenatal and perinatal care are shaping the psychophysiology of parents-to-be and developing babies.
Increased levels of stress, traumatic stress and anxiety have been reported by pregnant women in recent research on the psychological impact of the pandemic. Women and girls who carry past experiences of trauma may suffer the recurrence of previously abated traumatic stress symptoms or the exacerbation of existing symptoms.
An abundance of research demonstrates the negative impacts of stress, PTSD, anxiety and depression on the psychophysiology of the mother and fetus, as well as pregnancy, labor and birth outcomes and long-term maternal-child health.
The racial disparities in maternal and infant mortality rates documented prior to the pandemic, as well as the racial disparities in the incidence of infection and mortality rates of COVID-19 must also be considered when developing Trauma-Informed COVID-19 Guidelines for Perinatal Care.
The adaptation of Trauma Informed Perinatal Care to our current health and economic crisis will support enhanced maternal-child health in this extremely challenging time.
Ann Diamond Weinstein, PhD is a Preconception, Prenatal and Early Parenting Specialist with a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology. In her consultation practice she provides education and coaching to mental health and health professionals, educators, individuals and families on the relationship between prenatal and early postnatal development and experience, and an individual’s health, behavior and relationships over their life span.
Dr. Weinstein offers trauma-informed educational seminars and videoconference study groups on the impacts of maternal psychophysiological states on the developing prenate and the maternal-infant relationship. Her seminars explore the impacts of stress and trauma on perinatal experience and outcomes, and factors contributing to racial disparities in maternal-infant mortality rates. Dr. Weinstein is also currently exploring the experience of pregnancy, birth and the early postnatal period during the pandemic, the effects on parents-to-be and their developing babies of the implementation of COVID-19 perinatal care guidelines, and how adaptations to trauma-informed perinatal care can be incorporated during the pandemic to enhance maternal-child health outcomes.
A wealth of knowledge, theory and research from multiple disciplines informs her work. It is synthesized in Dr. Weinstein’s book, Prenatal Development and Parents’ Lived Experiences: How Early Events Shape Our Psychophysiology and Relationships (2016), Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology.
Learn more on her website: www.anndiamondweinstein.com.
Dr. Weinstein shares information about issues in the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology and health on her website and her blog at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-beginning.