Pregnancy during the global COVID-19 Pandemic: Learning from Canadian Women’s Experiences
This study focuses on the experiences of Canadian women who are pregnant during the COVID-19 Pandemic. During this time, there are many changes to day-to-day life and to healthcare. The aim of the research is to learn from pregnant women about the nature of their experience, including challenges, coping strategies, and success. This may help to understand how health care systems and communities can best support pregnant women and their families during challenging times.
This study invites participants to submit journal entries that are responses to prompts. After completing the initial participants will be sent weekly prompts.
This qualitative study draws on the accounts of women who are (or were) pregnant during COVID-19 in Canada, in order to better understand the psycho-social impacts of the many dramatic and emerging changes to daily life and health care on pregnant women, as well as to help understand how a pandemic emergency affects patients in an unrelated area of health care.
Maternity care is an area in which women’s rights to choice of care provider and location, formal and informal social support, and quality local care, are often framed as provisional. The study aims to identify the range of women’s experiences of changes to maternity care and supports required during the pandemic, as well as to identify strategies and practices, whether health system or community, that made changes easier or more difficult.
This study asks women who are (or were) pregnant during COVID-19 to reflect on their experience of primary health care including prenatal and delivery care; prenatal classes, breastfeeding support, and other quasi-formal but non-health care supports; and informal social support from family, friends, and neighbours. Their experience will be captured in solicited journal entries written to prompts.
Health care changes affecting women vary by Canadian jurisdiction and will be tracked in the study; of interest are shifting approaches to homebirth, from an uptick to a ban, shifting approaches to the restrictions on support people (such as partners, family, and doulas), and shifting advice on how to approach health care.
Also captured will be changes to daily life as they impact pregnancy; such changes will vary for each individual but are likely to include some form of social distancing, some change to work and/or income, and some change to family life.
This research is funded in part by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.