Wider Impacts of the COVID‑19 Pandemic on the Health and Well-Being of Pregnant and Parenting Youth and their Children in Canada.
COVID‑19 pandemic has disrupted the normal life and routine of all individuals. Youth (15-24 years) are at low risk for hospitalization and death from COVID-19. However, evidence suggests that the disease affected other aspects of their physical, mental and social health. Pregnant and parenting youth and their children are especially affected by the closure of social spaces, including schools, community centres, and health clinics, where many of them receive social support and healthcare for themselves and their children. In many places, health facilities have closed or have limited the available services. In addition, they may be unable to visit health facilities because of movement restrictions or because of fears of COVID‑19 exposure. To the best of our knowledge, no research investigated the wider and long-term consequences of COVID‑19 on pregnant and parenting youth and their children in Canada. To address this gap, we will explore the perspectives of pregnant and parenting youth (mother and father) on how the pandemic has affected their own and their children health and wellbeing and propose effective interventions to mitigate the challenges faced by young parents to be better prepared for future health emergencies and pandemics. This project will be conducted in 2 phases: Phase 1: Qualitative individual interviews with pregnant and parenting youth (of all genders) and service providers to investigate the impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic on their own and their children’s mental, physical, and social wellbeing. Phase 2: Develop pandemic response framework and strategies (i.e. toolkits) that support pregnant, parenting youth and their children better health and well-being. This research will provide essential information to inform current and future policies, support services, and programming, to improve the support services for pregnant and parenting youth and their children with special reference to the incidence and impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic.