One in three pregnant women may suffer depression

Researchers say one in three pregnant women in Japan may suffer from depression and other disorders due to the prolonged effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The online survey by Kindai University Oriental Medicine Research Institute covered 1,022 pregnant women from June to July. Their answers were rated against a global scale that assesses mental health.

The results suggest one in three pregnant women may be experiencing psychological problems. Depression and anxiety disorders were reported by 385 respondents, or 37.7 percent.

The researchers say the figure has almost tripled since a similar survey conducted by Yokohama City University in September last year found that 13.2 percent of respondents may be suffering depression and other disorders.

The researchers say the many cancellations of events for pregnant women during the pandemic may have left them feeling more isolated.

The research institute's director, Takeda Takashi, says psychological distress during pregnancy affects not only the mother but also the unborn baby. He says healthcare workers and governments should actively intervene to improve the situation.