More than a half of women experienced emotional issues during pregnancy, according to the survey conducted by the 280 Days Fund.
"I am feeling depressed and fearful because of the scaremongering with potential complications."
"I was not being shown understanding or support of my position, or even tactfulness for that matter".
"I did not get a proper explanation of what some tests were for".

Who do you think these testimonies belong to? We have collected these when conducting a survey among 100 young mothers. Since the Fund's mission is to prevent pregnancy complications in Ukraine, we are convinced that mental health of future mothers is as important for the success of the pregnancy as physical health. Therefore, the survey aimed at finding out whether women required psychological support during pregnancy and whether they could get it.

The respondents of the survey gave birth when they were 19 to 41 years old, 51% were between 27 and 32. 61% of the women were attended to at state medical institutions, 37% - at private clinics and 2% used the services of both state and private institutions. The sample included women from Vinnytsia, Zhytomyr, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kyiv, Lviv, Mykolaiv, Odessa, Poltava, Kharkiv, Khmelnytskyi oblasts. 56.6% of the respondents were from Kyiv City.

58.5% of the respondents had emotional difficulties during pregnancy
Unfortunately, the results were concerning: 58.5% of the respondents had emotional difficulties during pregnancy. They mentioned feeling scared, anxious, depressed, etc.

Women reported feeling most concerned about the following:·
  • Their own health
  • The health of their baby (especially in case of previous negative pregnancy experience)
  • Taking care of the baby after it is born
  • The fear of the labour, especially C-section
  • Financial issues
  • Doctors' incompetence
  • Demands to pay bribes
  • Intimidation from doctors
  • Lack of stability in the country
  • Ongoing war
  • Environmental problem

What was worrisome is that:
none of the respondents were given any psychological tests to assess their emotional state. This is standard practice for the detection of emotional difficulties in pregnant women in developed countries;

1.5% of the participating women said that their Ob/Gyn never asked about their emotional wellbeing;

87.7% of the respondents reported that the maternity clinics, where women were attended at, did not offer services of perinatal psychologists.

59,4% of the women who did not use services of a perinatal psychologist today realise that they would like to have had such an option.
14,2% of respondents did turn to a perinatal psychologist (13,8% turned to a professional at the institution where they were attended to and 10,4% found a professional elsewhere). Among those a great majority noted that professional help was effective.

The reasons that precluded women from seeking help of a psychologist are noteworthy:

  • 72,6% (!) of women did not realise the existence of a problem and the need to see a professional·
  • 27,4% were put off by the cost of the service·
  • 10,4% are afraid of being judged by their family or society

Therefore, the survey results indicate that the majority of pregnant women in Ukraine face emotional difficulties and need professional help. At the same time, there is basically no established practice of surveying expectant mothers on their emotional state.

It is evident that establishing effective dialogue between future mothers and doctors is a necessary condition for maintaining the emotional health of pregnant women. Moreover, the survey has highlighted the fact that perinatal psychologists are in demand and need to become more affordable and available at the maternity clinics

This is why 280 Days Fund is providing tele-counselling with a perinatal psychologist for the expectant mothers who have anxiety, fears or concerns.To arrange a conversation with a psychologist, it is necessary to fill out an online anonymous form:

You can also make a personal contribution to support mothers' mental health: make a charitable donation by following the link: n the "Purpose of Payment" field please state "charitable donation for psychological support".

6 May / 2021
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