Relationship between pregnant women and their partners during COVID-19 and the role of accompanying persons during childbirth

Elizabete Pumpure (Coresponding Author), Dace Rezeberga, Gunta Lazdane, Ieva Briedite, Darja Mihailova, Ieva Pitkevica, Laura Marta Gravina, Solvita Olsena, Inara Kantane, Anda Ķīvīte-Urtāne

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Objective: Although the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the presence of a support person, several hospitals in Latvia have restricted the presence of supporting persons due to COVID-19. This study was conducted to understand the importance of partnership and the role of the accompanying person in childbirth in the context of COVID-19 in Latvia.Methods: A mixed method study with sequential explanatory design was conducted from 26 July to 30 October 2020. The quantitative study consisted of a behavioral cross-sectional online survey with convenience sampling. The survey items, methods, and implementation were performed as part of the I-SHARE study carried out in 33 countries, with standardized survey instruments that were focused on sexual and reproductive health issues. In Latvia it was supported by the National Research Program to lessen the effects of COVID-19. Our study analyses only one part of all data. To answer the research question besides quantitative data the qualitative study that consisted of 7 semi-structured in-depth interviews and 11 focus group discussions was integrated.Results: 1,173 people of Latvia have participated in the I-SHARE online survey. The answers of 662 women of reproductive age and 70 pregnant women have been analyzed. Pregnant women had less tension with their partners and received higher partner emotional support before the COVID-19 pandemic than other women of reproductive age, and pregnant women were less frustrated during COVID-19 than non-pregnant women of reproductive age (p < .05). More than half (61.4%) of the pregnant women felt anxiety and depression due to COVID-19 restrictions. The qualitative part of the study revealed that having a partner during childbirth was an important aspect when choosing a facility to give birth in, as the lack of an accompanying person caused anxiety and additional stress.Conclusions: COVID-19 has increased anxiety and depression among pregnant women. Birth companions should not be considered third parties, and establishing a delivery unit visitor policy is necessary to balance the benefits and risks in an evidence-based and compassionate manner.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hospital Administration
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2021

Field of Science*

  • 3.3 Health sciences

Publication Type*

  • 1.3. Anonymously reviewed scientific article published in a journal with an international editorial board and is available in another indexed database


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