LONDON, ONT. -- Researchers from Lawson Health Research Institute (Lawson) and Western University in London, Ont. are coming together to study the possible health impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on mothers and their babies.

The study will be looking at mothers and their babies who were born or will be born during the pandemic.

“This has been a stressful and pivotal time for everyone in the world, but we know the post-partum experience can greatly affect both the birthing person and their baby, in the short and long term,” says Dr. Genevieve Eastabrook with Lawson and Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.

Eastabrook is also an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) says perceived stress can have several affects on long-term health for both mothers and babies.

“We know perceived stress in the perinatal period may have a contribution to health later in life for the birthing person and their children in terms of overall cardiovascular and metabolic health, bonding experiences, and risk of mood disorders.”

The research team hopes to recruit 300 mothers for this study who have given birth at LHSC, specifically during the pandemic.

Study participants will complete a questionnaire about 6-12 weeks after their delivery.

The questionnaire focuses on perceived stress, postpartum depressive symptoms, perceived social support, the impact of COVID-19, health-care access and breastfeeding.

“The purpose of this study is to look at the pandemic response rather than the pandemic itself. We know that even if women haven’t been infected with COVID-19, it doesn’t mean they haven’t been impacted,” says Mei Yuan, MSc research student at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry.

The goal will be to use the findings to improve post-partum care for mothers and their babies within this population group.

Interested participants can email the Pregnancy Research Group at pregres@uwo.ca.