Published: 11 June 2020

How 2020 mothers are being affected by Covid-19

Dr Ranjana Das, Reader in Media and Communication at Surrey, has conducted a research project on new mothers, mental health and the impact of Covid-19 on pregnancy and maternity.

Ranjana Das holding a baby
Ranjana is currently on maternity leave with her new baby © Dr Ranjana Das

Ranjana specialises in the social uses of digital technology, with a particular focus on technologies, parents and mental health. Also, as a new mother herself, Ranjana has been experiencing the pressures of lockdown with a young baby.

In her report, Ranjana interviewed pregnant women and those who have recently given birth amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, with a focus on the nuances of digital and online support.

Ranjana explains: “Being able to engage digitally is not necessarily the solution or a quick-fix to problems. In fact, we need to stay away from any kind of techno-euphoria (the idea that technology sweeps in to solve all of our problems – it does not and may even exacerbate numerous problems).

“In this study, I found that people with difficult relationships with their family and friends offline, generally found fewer supportive connections online. For those who already had strong connections, technology helped massively to strengthen them during the lockdown.“

But the Covid-19 pandemic could potentially change the way women experience life post-childbirth. Ranjana says: “We don’t know how social distancing measures will unfold, wax or wane, and for how long. However, we do know that we already have vast numbers of women scarred by this experience. There are likely to be significant issues emerging around anxiety, social isolation, and a range of other mental health difficulties. Mothers of 2020 babies need urgent, specific and targeted support, whatever the phase of pregnancy or post-natal period they are going through this year. “

This Infant Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 and beyond, Ranjana wants to raise awareness of maternal mental health, and the urgent need for funding for perinatal and infant mental health – areas that have suffered due to funding cuts in recent times.


Find out more about Ranjana’s study.

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