Coronavirus: pregnant women are more anxious during the pandemic, UAE study finds

Researchers at the University of Sharjah and UAE University Al Ain said pregnant women are worried about childbirth during the outbreak

Pregnant woman with face mask standing in front of window.

The Covid‐19 pandemic is causing increased anxiety among pregnant women in the UAE, a new study found.

The study, by the University of Sharjah and UAE University Al Ain, polled 384 pregnant women between May and July in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.

Sixty-six per cent of women who were polled said they were more anxious because of the pandemic.

“The women were worried about their health, the baby, and the birth,” said Dr Mona Hashim, a lecturer at the University of Sharjah’s Health Sciences College.

“The more advanced a woman’s pregnancy was, the higher were her fears of the pandemic’s negative impact.”

A change in financial status, fear of infection and working from home increased anxiety.

Sixty-four per cent of the women said they were stressed working from home, while 34 per cent worried about possible financial difficulties in the future.

Fifty-three per cent said they did not exercise during their pregnancy and 93 per cent said they did not take immunity-boosting supplements because they feared it would harm the baby.

“Pregnant women in our region don’t exercise much and with stay-home orders, it was even harder for them to walk,” Dr Hashim said.

The study found that women focused more on their emotional well-being during the pandemic.

Forty-eight per cent said they took care of their mental health, while 57 per cent spent more time relaxing and 59 per cent received care from families.