Objective: To describe impact of COVID-19 pandemic on stress and mood of new mothers, in particular in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU); a secondary objective was to assess whether customary social gender distancing practiced by ultra-religious Jews and Muslims offers built-in anti-stress protection.
Methods: Cross-sectional, observational survey of mothers of 52 normal newborn nursery (NNB) and 52 NICU infants. In all, 86 filled all the 6 questionnaires (Demographics, COVID-19 virus experience, Mental Health Inventory, Neonatal Satisfaction Survey, Parental Stressor Scale, and Questionnaire of Coping Strategies).
Results: Most mothers stated that COVID-19 pandemic had hurt social and family relationships, maternal role, and expressed stress and loneliness. Mothers of NICU infants had higher degree of helplessness. Religious social distancing was not protective. Background tendency to coping poorly with stress and depression most highly predicted stress.
Conclusion: COVID-19 pandemic harms psychosocial well-being of most mothers. Detection of high-risk individuals is necessary to provide appropriate support.