Over the last several months, the ISLAND Lab and the BabyBees collaborative have been collecting data on the impact of COVID-19 for NYC families. Our focus is to investigate maternal mental health as well as infant outcomes. Through answering surveys, our participants (N=679) have provided valuable information showcasing coping mechanisms and challenges they’ve experienced due to this global pandemic. 

We have created this infographic to present some of our preliminary findings.

Positive Changes: Surprisingly, a great deal of new and expecting mothers reported positive changes during this time. A majority (n=468) reported a greater appreciation for life due to COVID-19. Some even reported new connections and stronger relationships. Several studies have shown that hardship and trauma can lead to posttraumatic growth, providing people with greater resilience and appreciation for what they have (Jayawickreme & Blackie, 2016; Kissil et al., 2010). Although this pandemic may not be trauma for many families, it presents many challenges that may lead to reflection and growth. 

Advice: We asked our cohort to give advice to other new and expecting mothers going through the pandemic. Many of our responses outlined staying calm, taking care of personal mental health, getting support, and staying at home. 

Self-Care: Based on our surveys, we have found that first time pregnant women (no other children) are using and finding self-care coping mechanisms to be the most helpful way to cope during this pandemic. To learn more about different methods of self-care, check out this blog post written by BabyBees Collaborative! 

Missing out: Unsurprisingly, the majority (n=509) of moms reported that they missed in-person contact the most. Social isolation and distress in social support was a common theme in our cohort. When the weather is nice out, a socially distanced day at the park could be a good way to meet up with friends or let your baby meet new people! 

Stress: This pandemic has brought about lots of changes and distress. Families and individuals have undoubtedly felt and increased stress in their daily lives. Our survey responses showed that a large proportion of this stress is caused by financial concerns (n=153). This is followed by health concerns, impact on community and friends, and access to mental health care. 

Changes to care: Prenatal and postnatal care involve doctor checkups and testing that can ensure a healthy development of the baby and mother. Because of the pandemic, going to doctor’s appointments and hospital checkups is more difficult than ever. As this situation continues to evolve, the rules around pregnancy and giving birth has changed with it. Many moms reported only having one person allowed in the birthing room. Some reported going to appointments alone. As hospitals adapt to these circumstances, we hope to see a dedication to bringing care for pregnant and new mothers. 

We hope this infographic is helpful and informative as you and your family continue to navigate through these difficult times. We thank you for your time and dedication to this project as none of this could have been possible without your help! If you’re interested in learning more about this study or these findings, please contact us. 

britobabylab@nyu.edu ~ babybeesnyc@nyulangone.org
Social media:
@britobabylab ~ @babybeesnyc