Findings show the COVID-19 pandemic limited access to critical resources and support throughout the motherhood journey, negatively impacting quality of life for new moms
ASHEVILLE, N.C., Sept. 29, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Aeroflow Breastpumps, a Durable Medical Equipment (DME) provider specializing in helping pregnant and nursing women receive maternity and postpartum recovery items through their insurance, today announced the results of a proprietary survey designed to highlight the challenges faced by women who were pregnant and gave birth during the COVID-19 pandemic.
After a year and a half of living with the pandemic, Aeroflow wanted to explore how the imposed quarantine and safety measures impacted the pregnancy and postpartum experience, especially considering the challenges with receiving proper care and education that existed well before COVID-19. The survey looked at all factors that influence the motherhood journey to see how they had changed during the pandemic, including finances/career, perinatal mental health, prenatal and postpartum healthcare, and availability of resources and in-person support.
To better understand how different populations were affected, half the women surveyed are of lower socioeconomic status and on Medicaid (n=540), and the other half have commercial health insurance (n=543). The findings show that quality of life for all new moms took a hit over the past 18 months as a result of COVID-19, but mothers with Medicaid appear to have been more negatively impacted. Notable survey results include:
The majority of new moms said pandemic circumstances caused increased feelings of isolation or poor mental health during pregnancy (68%), and increased feelings of depression, isolation, and/or disappointment in postpartum weeks (68%).
While nearly two-in-five (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 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.
One-third of all mothers in both groups (29%) were unable to attend all of their prenatal visits in person due to COVID-19 restrictions, and when they did attend visits in person, many (60%) were unable to have their partner or a support person by their side.
More than one-in-four (28%) of all new moms said they did not have in-person visits with a lactation consultant before discharge after giving birth and more than one-in-five (23%) mothers with Medicaid reported not being able to attend their postpartum appointments in-person due to COVID-19.
-31% of all new moms surveyed reported their support people (parents, siblings, etc.) were unable to be with them due to COVID and as a result, 24% of mothers with private insurance and 36% of mothers with Medicaid reported they had to care for their baby on their own.
The pandemic created many obstacles for all new moms in regard to receiving the support and resources they needed from their healthcare providers, loved ones, and their jobs. This not only left a significant amount of women caring for their children alone, but it made the entire postpartum experience more challenging. More than one-in-four (27%) women with Medicaid reported that needing to take care of older children at home as a result of COVID-19 made their recovery more difficult, and nearly half of all women surveyed (46%) report that COVID-19 circumstances did not help them better achieve their breastfeeding or postpartum recovery goals.
While all new moms are spending a lot more time at home with their baby, they are also avoiding activities that are key to maintaining good mental health, especially in the postpartum period, including visits with friends and family (80%), going out in public (85%), hiring childcare (51%) and even just getting out for some fresh air (36%). The pandemic made it hard for many new moms to take time for themselves due to lack of alternative caregivers, and as a result, many felt they were in this alone. These feelings of isolation were only compounded by the lack of solutions to protect themselves and their baby besides the vaccine, which many new mothers had mixed feelings about.
Although the COVID-19 vaccine was not yet available when all of the respondents were pregnant or breastfeeding, of those who were offered the vaccine, 28% opted to receive the vaccine while breastfeeding and 33% opted to not get the vaccine at all while pregnant or breastfeeding. Interestingly, almost 2/3 of mothers (63%) in both groups reported that their OB/GYNs or primary care providers had never discussed the vaccine with them.
“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,” said Samantha Spencer, DPT and Medical Advisor at Aeroflow Breastpumps. “Another important consideration here is that these new moms were likely feeling lost in their postpartum recovery, especially since in-person visits were limited and many relied on telehealth. Not to mention, financial strain can also be a barrier to postpartum care. Patients don’t always realize that a concern is important to mention, and especially if the initial postpartum follow-up is virtual, it can further exacerbate the sense of isolation, fear avoidance, and unnecessarily turning to “Dr. Google” for answers.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic presented additional, profound uncertainties and health concerns for every new mom to navigate during pregnancy and postpartum, and with the imposed restrictions limiting access to necessary resources, many of these women struggled with their overall well-being during their motherhood journey,” said Dr. Jessica Madden, Medical Director of Aeroflow Breastpumps. “As the future of the pandemic remains uncertain, it’s critical that we’re doing everything that is safely possible to improve health 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. The health and safety of mom and baby is paramount in the months during and after pregnancy, and it’s our hope that this survey raises awareness of how the pandemic has impacted this experience and where we can make changes to alleviate some of these added stressors and feelings of isolation. Aeroflow remains committed to providing the highest quality tools, resources and medical devices to support the motherhood journey. “
The third party-administered survey polled 1,083 women living in the United States with children between the ages 0-1. Responses were collected throughout July 2021.
About Aeroflow Breastpumps
Aeroflow Breastpumps, a subsidiary of Aeroflow Healthcare, is a Durable Medical Equipment (DME) provider specializing in helping pregnant and nursing women qualify for their breast pump through their insurance. Its mission is to increase the instance of breastfeeding nationally through the best equipment, support and education, and exceptional customer service. Visit AeroflowBreastpumps.com for more information.
Samantha Breccia, Aeroflow Breastpumps, 646-699-1414, firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Aeroflow Breastpumps