Pregnancy and the Pandemic

Published: October 15th, 2020

Category: Affiliate Faculty, Featured content, News

Photo of Dr. Matthew Gurka

Matthew Gurka, Ph.D.

How are pregnant women handling the stress and anxiety of the COVID-19 pandemic?

To find out, ICHP Associate Director Matthew Gurka, Ph.D. and co-PI Kelly Gurka, Ph.D., assistant professor in Epidemiology at UF, received supplemental grant funding from the NIH to conduct the “Florida COVID-19 and Perinatal Experiences” (COPE) Study.

“Prenatal stress exposure is associated with a wide range of adverse health outcomes among children, many of which are long-lasting,” Matthew Gurka said. “With the stresses and sources of anxiety related to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a need to understand experiences of pregnant women in the midst of the outbreak and its impact on maternal and child health.”

The Florida COPE Study will survey 500 pregnant women and new mothers across the state, and will work closely with other sites across the country performing similar surveys of pandemic-related stress among pregnant women in Florida. The team has already received responses from more than 300 participants.