Climate Change is an Emerging Threat to Perinatal Mental Health

Barkin, Jennifer L., Philipsborn, Rebecca P., Curry, Carolann L., Upadhyay, Saswati, Geller, Pamela A., Pardon, Madelyn, Dimmock, James, Bridges, Christy C., Sikes, Christina A., Kondracki, Anthony J., and Buoli, Massimiliano (2023) Climate Change is an Emerging Threat to Perinatal Mental Health. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association. (In Press)

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Objective: In this discussion, we build the case for why climate change is an emerging threat to perinatal mental health.

Method: A search of current literature on perinatal and maternal mental health and extreme weather events was conducted in PubMed/MEDLINE and Web of Science databases. Only articles focusing on maternal mental health were included in this narrative review.

Results: The perinatal period represents a potentially challenging timeframe for women for several reasons. Necessary role adjustments (reprioritization), changes in one’s ability to access pre-birth levels (and types) of social support, fluctuating hormones, changes in body shape, and possible complications during pregnancy, childbirth, or postpartum are just a few of the factors that can impact perinatal mental health. Trauma is also a risk factor for negative mood symptoms and can be experienced as the result of many different types of events, including exposure to extreme weather/natural disasters.

Conclusion: While the concepts of “eco-anxiety,” “climate despair,” and “climate anxiety” have garnered attention in the mainstream media, there is little to no discussion of how the climate crisis impacts maternal mental health. This is an important omission as the mother’s mental health impacts the family unit as a whole.

Item ID: 77032
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1078-3903
Keywords: perinatal mental health, women’s mental health, mood disorders, postpartum depression, anxiety and anxiety disorders
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2022. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages ( Request permissions for this article.
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2022 03:47
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410103 Human impacts of climate change and human adaptation @ 32%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4204 Midwifery > 420403 Psychosocial aspects of childbirth and perinatal mental health @ 36%
52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5203 Clinical and health psychology > 520304 Health psychology @ 32%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2005 Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) > 200509 Women's and maternal health @ 50%
19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1901 Adaptation to climate change > 190103 Social impacts of climate change and variability @ 50%
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