Social support for postpartum women and associated factors including online support to reduce stress and depression amidst COVID-19: Results of an online survey in Thailand

Soo Jung Kim, Yin Min Aye, Danipa Panyarachun, Seo Ah Hong*, Yan-Shing Chang*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Background: Social support for postpartum women helps mothers to recover from childbirth and fosters healthy infant development. However, the impacts of reduced interpersonal interactions inflicted by the COVID-19 outbreak on available social support for postpartum women have received little attention. Therefore, this study aimed to examine the levels of social support provided to postpartum women and associated factors in Thailand during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted from July to October 2021 using an anonymous online questionnaire. The responses of 840 eligible women up to six months postpartum in Thailand were obtained. The maternity social support scale was used to measure social support. Multivariate logistic regression was used to analyse the factors associated with social support among postpartum women.
Results: About 57% of women reported to receive high support. Women in the high social support group were more likely to be married (aOR:2.70; 95% CI:1.57-4.66), have a university education or above (1.88; 1.35-2.64), have an intended pregnancy (2.06; 1.34-3.16), good health (2.01; 1.44-2.81), good sleep quality (1.62; 1.14-2.31), receive counsel from peers or family (1.56; 1.13-2.16), and use internet or social media to reduce stress and depression (1.51; 1.08-2.11). Meanwhile, women in the high social support group were significantly less likely to feed complementary foods to infants within 24 hours of completing the survey (0.28; 0.15-0.52).
Conclusions: The results of this study indicated that more than half of the women reported high support and illustrated the important role played by family, peers, and professionals as well as online and remote channels in providing postpartum informational and emotional support during the pandemic. Online platforms and remote support may be considered to provide social support to postpartum women during a pandemic such as COVID-19.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0289250
JournalPLoS One
Volume18
Issue number7 JULY
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2023

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