New Covid-19 research highlights importance of family connection for pregnancy and new parents

New Covid-19 research highlights importance of family connection for pregnancy and new parents

Media release — 24 March 2022

Portrait of young smiling family with son playing with toy. Happy family, parenthood and people concept - mother, father with baby at home.

A new report from AIFS, based on a survey conducted at the end of 2020, shows the importance of help, support and connection from family at the time of pregnancy and new parenthood. This includes the family you live with as well as family living elsewhere.

The Becoming a new parent in the COVID-19 Pandemic is the seventh report from the Families in Australia survey. In the November-December 2020 survey, the 520 participants who were pregnant (including partners) or new parents were asked How would you describe the experience of pregnancy [and/or new parenthood], given the impacts of COVID‑19? 

Report author Dr Jennifer Baxter said the findings are a reminder of the deep emotional connections with family that pregnancy and new parenting entail and provide valuable learnings to help support those going through the experience moving forward. 

Dr Baxter said, ‘This report highlights how important the support of a partner is to many people at this time. Amid the COVID-19 restrictions, participants expressed that they highly valued this support and missed it when it was not available, such as when attending medical appointments.’

She added, ‘Also, we could see from the responses that during the pandemic the help received by a partner was particularly important, given some constraints on access to extended family and services. Extended family support was often missed, with extended family often unable to travel and be present to help with a newborn.’

Grazia Pezzimenti, 32, who was pregnant with her third child in the midst of Melbourne’s lockdowns in 2020, described the experience in one word as ‘isolating’. 

‘We couldn't see family, both my sisters, one of them 20 minutes away, one of them an hour away. I couldn't even see them.’

At the same time, Grazia reflects on the opportunity the time presented. 

‘[2020] got me to slow down and be more attentive to all three of them [my children], and really enjoy them growing up and seeing their development.’

The Families in Australia Becoming a new parent in the Covid-19 pandemic report and the Families in Australia snapshot are available at:

View the Families in Australia Research Report: Becoming a new parent in the Covid-19 pandemic report and the Families in Australia Research Snapshot: Looking back, looking forward: families’ reflections on 2021 and hopes for 2022.

About the report

  • Of the 4,866 participants, 399 had a new baby in the previous year and another 121 respondents indicated they or their partner were pregnant at the time of the survey, a total of 520 respondents. 
  • The report found that 53% of expectant and new parents received help or support from family, and 40% received assistance from friends.