Mental health of urban mothers (MUM) study: a multicentre randomised controlled trial, study protocol
Simone Eliane Schwank; Ho-Fung Chung; Mandy Hsu (et al.)
Published: November 2020
Journal: BMJ Open
Mental health disorders are common during pregnancy and the postnatal period and can have serious adverse effects on women and their children. The consequences for global mental health due to COVID-19 are likely to be significant and may have a long-term impact on the global burden of disease. Besides physical vulnerability, pregnant women are at increased risk of mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder due to the consequences of social distancing. It can result in altered healthcare routines, less support from the family and friends, and in some cases, partners not being allowed to be present during prenatal visits, labour and delivery. Higher than expected, rates of perinatal anxiety and depression have been already reported during the pandemic. Pregnant women may also feel insecure and worried about the effects of COVID-19 on their unborn child if they get infected during pregnancy. Today, young urban women are used to using internet services frequently and efficiently. Therefore, providing mental health support to pregnant women via internet may be effective in ameliorating their anxiety/depression, reducing the risk of serious mental health disorders, and lead to improved maternal and perinatal outcomes. This paper aims to explore the effectiveness of a web-based psychosocial peer-to-peer support intervention in reducing the risk and severity of perinatal mental health disorders and preventing adverse pregnancy outcomes among pregnant women living in metropolitan urban settings.