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Kim: Maternal Health in the COVID-19 Era: Unraveling Complexities and Long-term Implications for the Journal of Korean Maternal and Child Health
Greetings to the esteemed researchers and contributors of the Journal of Korean Maternal and Child Health (JKMCH). As we confront the ongoing challenges posed by the corona-virus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, it is crucial to re-evaluate the overarching purpose of our journal and its role as a dynamic platform for researchers in the field of maternal and child health. The aim of JKMCH is to facilitate communication and collaboration among diverse stakeholders, inclu-ding researchers, legislators, decision-makers, practitioners, and other professionals dedicated to the betterment of maternal and child health, and public health.

Navigating the COVID-19 Endemic

Given the declaration of COVID-19 as endemic, it is imperative for our researchers to refocus their efforts on addressing the specific challenges faced by maternal and child health (MCH). Despite recent slowdowns in MCH research, it is crucial to prioritize understanding and mitigating the vulnerabilities exposed by the pandemic, especially concerning the health of pregnant women, newborns, infants, and children. This editorial aims to delve into recent findings and shed light on the complexities surrounding maternal health in the era of COVID-19.

Maternal Health in the Shadow of COVID-19

The impact of COVID-19 on pregnancy and prenatal care has been profound. Disruptions in routine check-ups, fears of transmission, and delays in healthcare access have led to missed facility visits, financial distress, food insecurity, and increased stress, negatively influencing pregnancy outcomes (Musiimenta et al., 2022). Pregnant women with COVID-19 faced a higher risk of preterm delivery, cesarean section, pree clampsia, and gestational diabetes (Gholami et al., 2023). The stress surrounding COVID-19 has added complexity to pregnancy, affecting mental health and leading to various complications. Addressing the mental health struggles of expecting mothers has become a critical aspect of comprehensive maternal care during the pandemic.

Long-term Implications and the Road Ahead

The enduring nature of the COVID-19 pandemic requires a thoughtful examination of its long-term implications on MCH. Beyond immediate challenges, a spectrum of potential consequences may unfold over the coming years, necessitating contracted global research efforts and timely policy decisions (Penna et al., 2023). Exploring the intricacies of these long-term consequences is pivotal for designing healthcare systems capable of providing sustained support for mothers and children.

Formulating Strategies for Resilience and Recovery

As we stand at the intersection of the pandemic's aftermath and the path forward, it is paramount to formulate strategies for resilience and recovery in MCH. Integrating telehealth services and digital platforms can enhance access to prenatal and postnatal care, reaching remote or underserved communities. A study on the lasting impact of the pandemic on mental health calls for increased investment in mental health services, highlighting the need for comprehensive support systems (Harkins, 2020).

Conclusion

With a vast number of patients recovered from COVID-19, further research into the different patterns and underlying mechanisms of long COVID is essential. Reflecting on the intricate interplay of the COVID-19 pandemic with maternal health, our commitment to enduring health equity and comprehensive care is emphasized. The road ahead beckons us to weave a narrative of strength, compassion, and enduring care as we navigate the challenges and opportunities presented during this global crisis. Together, we have the opportunity to mend the frayed fabric of MCH, and emerge stronger than ever.

이해관계(CONFLICT OF INTEREST)

The author has nothing to disclose.

REFERENCES

Gholami R, Borumandnia N, Kalhori E, Taheri M, Khodakarami N. The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on pregnancy outcome. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2023;23:811.
crossref pmid pmc pdf
Harkins C. Supporting community recovery and resilience in response to the COVID-19 pandemic - a rapid review of evidence [Internet] Glasgow (UK), Glasgow Centre for Population Health, 2020;[cited 2024 Jan 3]. Available from: https://www.gcph.co.uk/assets/0000/7854/COVID19_Comm_Recovery_FINAL.pdf

Musiimenta A, Tumuhimbise W, Atukunda EC, Ayebaza S, Kobutungi P, Mugaba AT, et al. Challenges in accessing maternal and child health services during COVID-19 and the potential role of social networking technologies. Digit Health 2022;8:20552076221086769.
crossref pmid pmc pdf
Penna A, Aquino C, Pinheiro M, Nascimento R, Farias-Antunez S, Sa Araujo DAB, et al. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on maternal mental health, early childhood development, and parental practices: a global scoping review. BMC Public Health 2023;23:388.
crossref pmid pmc pdf
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