Distress and anxiety associated with COVID-19 among Jewish and Arab pregnant women in Israel

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

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105 Scopus citations
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Introduction: The fact that little is yet known about the possible implications of COVID-19 for pregnancy, puts pregnant women at greater risk of heightened anxiety and psychological distress. In this study, we sought to explore the psychological distress and COVID-19-related anxiety of pregnant women during the crisis. Methods: Israeli Jewish and Arab pregnant women (n = 336) aged 20–47 completed a set of questionnaires during the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Results: The levels of all COVID-19-related anxieties were quite high (much or very much), with the highest regarding public places and transportation (87.5%, 70%, respectively), followed by concerns over the possible infection of other family members and the health of the foetus (71.7%, 70%, respectively), going for pregnancy check-ups (68.7%,), being infected themselves, and the delivery (59.2%, 55.4%, respectively). Although COVID-19-related anxieties were shared by pregnant women characterised by diverse sociodemographic variables, with very small nuances, Arab women were more anxious about each of the issues than Jewish women. Discussion: Our findings highlight the importance of assessing anxiety and distress in pregnant women during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the need to be attentive to the double stress of pregnant women in times of crisis and to the potential vulnerability of subgroups, such as cultural minorities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-348
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 26 May 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, © 2020 Society for Reproductive and Infant Psychology.


  • COVID-19
  • anxiety
  • distress
  • pregnancy


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