Therapy Areas: Vaccines
Global Study Measures the Impact of COVID-19 on Sleep, Fitness, Diet, and Mental Health of Pregnant People
12 January 2022 - - A global study released this week from Pregistry, a specialist in the development and conduct of observational studies during pregnancy, highlights the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthy behaviors during pregnancy and its association with mental health disorders.

The study, conducted in 12 countries by Dr. Diego Wyszynski, Pregistry CEO, and a team of collaborators showed elevated mental health distress in one of three pregnant people and moderate impact on healthy behaviors.

Research consistently shows that COVID-19 continues to disrupt physical activity, sleep, and eating behaviors in the general population, mostly attributed to quarantine and physical distancing measures.

Such reduction in healthy behaviors has been linked to worsening mental health and wellbeing.

The Pregistry study, entitled COVID-19 perceived impacts on sleep, fitness, and diet and associations with mental health during pregnancy: A cross-national study, brings to light the effects of the pandemic on the pregnant population, whose mental health is particularly critical given the potential short and long-term impacts on both mother and child.

In a recent survey of 3,692 pregnant people, one in three reported elevated mental health distress, and about 30-45% of the participants reported moderate to high impact on healthy behaviors across sleep, fitness, and diet.

Interestingly, the impact on each healthy behavior domain (sleep, diet, fitness) was independently linked to increased mental health distress.

Other results showed that a sense of community may buffer the impact of inadequate sleep and other affected healthy behaviors on mental health distress, while the opposite, loneliness, may exacerbate risks.

Furthermore, the research shows that addressing sleep, diet, and fitness changes together may help prevent mental health distress in pregnancy in times of a major stressor, highlighting the importance of increasing access to support for this group during the pandemic.

Adjusting for a range of sociodemographic factors, inadequate sleep was found to be the most strongly associated with mental health distress, with pregnant people reporting the highest negative impact.

Perceived COVID-19 impact on diet showed the second strongest pattern of association with mental health distress.

Finally, a reported impact on fitness was also associated with elevated mental health distress, which aligns with a large base of evidence linking physical activity and mental health in the general population and during pregnancy.

In the study, positive feelings of gratitude and a sense of community were found to be associated with lower reported inadequate healthy behavior. In addition, loneliness emerged as a potential risk factor for increased reports of negative impact.

Study contributors include Karmel W. Choi, Hannah H. Kim, Archana Basu, Alex S.F. Kwong, Sonia Hernandez-Diaz, Diego F. Wyszynski and Karestan C. Koenen.

Pregistry is a leader in the development and conduct of observational studies to assess the safety of medications and vaccines when used during pregnancy.

With over 70 pregnancy specialists, covering a range of clinical, preclinical, safety, regulatory, marketing, and IT needs, the focus is on making sure that both mother and baby are healthy and safe and that prescribers have the information needed to be able to explain the potential benefits and risks of medications during pregnancy.

Pregistry also offers pregnant people a safe space to connect with a global community of experts and peers at no cost.