Childbirth anxieties in the shadow of COVID-19: Self-compassion and social support among Jewish and Arab pregnant women in Israel

Orit Taubman – Ben-Ari, Miriam Chasson, Salam Abu-Sharkia

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20 Scopus citations
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Abstract

The study examined two angles of childbirth anxieties of Jewish and Arab pregnant women in Israel during the COVID-19 pandemic (March-April, 2020). Specifically, we examined the contribution of personal resources: self-compassion and perceived social support, as well as a couple of COVID-19-related fears of being infected and concern for the foetus, to both the woman's global fear of childbirth (FOC) and her COVID-19-related childbirth anxiety. Participants were Jewish and Arab pregnant women (n = 403) aged 20–47, who completed a set of structured self-report questionnaires from 18 March to 9 April 2020. Findings indicated that Arab women reported higher level of COVID-19-related childbirth anxiety and COVID-19-related fears of being infected and concern for the foetus. In addition, poorer health, being an Arab woman, being in the third trimester, lower self-compassion, and higher COVID-19-related fears contributed significantly to greater COVID-19-related childbirth anxiety. Furthermore, poorer health, being primiparous, at-risk pregnancy, lower self-compassion and higher fear of being infected contributed significantly to greater FOC. Importantly, social support was found to moderate the association between self-compassion and FOC. The results highlight the need to be attentive to pregnant women in times of crisis, and in particular to especially vulnerable subgroups, such as cultural minorities. They also highlight the importance of personal resources that may be applied in targeted interventions to reduce distress in vulnerable populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1409-1419
Number of pages11
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Volume29
Issue number5
Early online date14 Oct 2020
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • anxiety
  • childbirth
  • pregnancy
  • self-compassion
  • social support

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