Pregnancy is a time of great joy, excitement, and anticipation, but during this current COVID-19 crisis, pregnancy can also be a cause for increased anxiety and stress. While we can’t completely eliminate those feelings, there are many things you can do to lessen the impact on you and your baby.
Remember, preparation and planning are key and may also help alleviate some of your fears. Keep in mind there is still little known about the specific impact of the virus on pregnancy. But according to Harvard Health, “No evidence shows that being pregnant increases a woman’s risk for getting COVID-19, or her risk of developing severe symptoms if she has the disease.”
So, as your pregnancy progresses, you’ll want to:
Follow your state/local safety guidelines – Yes, different areas have different rules, but in general, you should stick to the basics, wear a mask, wash your hand thoroughly and frequently, avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, mouth, and nose and practice the 6 feet away social distancing rules at all times.
Know before you go - Check your hospital’s policies, you don’t want any surprises during your appointments or on delivery day. Many doctors are increasing the interval between prenatal visits and limiting who can be in the delivery room, so be sure you understand the procedures at your facility.
Once you have the information you need, it’s time to take a deep breath! It may sound a bit silly, but trying to calm yourself and using positive self-talk is a great way to help reduce your overall anxiety level. Put your focus on self-care. As hard as that may seem right now, your body and your baby will benefit from a little extra TLC.
Not sure how to start? Here are a few suggestions!
Virtual Meet-ups - The hardest part of social distancing is feeling isolated from family and friends. Take advantage of technology to stay in touch and share your feelings. We also love apps such as Peanut, where you can “meet” and “talk” to other moms-to-be. This shared community can go a long way in relieving feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Healthy eating – Your diet is essential, so whenever possible, try to stick to your pre-pandemic routine. But, don’t be hard on yourself, the occasional “treat” is absolutely ok and may be just what you need!
Take a Class – There are loads of options for virtual prenatal classes, from yoga to meditation. There are also birthing (& breastfeeding) seminars that you can join with your partner. Try to take advantage of the many offerings.
Virtual Baby Shower – Despite the distance, friends, and family still want to shower, you with love and attention – let them! A virtual shower can be a fun and safe way to celebrate this special time in your life. Hint…supportive and comfortable maternity clothes make a great present or suggest that your partner gifts you with a post-pregnancy Belly Wrap to help ease your recovery.
Date Night – Say what?! Yes, pregnancy is the time to bond with your partner, so if you’re a first-time parent, try ordering in, putting down your phone and talking about names, nursery decorations, or the weather. It’s a bit harder if you already have kids, but not impossible! After the kids go to sleep, snuggle up and just BE with each other. Many couples are finding the isolation challenging, so lean on each other for support.
Hello, Doc? – If you find that you’re simply not ok mentally, help is available. Speak to your OB/Gyn about finding a licensed online therapist or look into a service such as Better Help, to connect you with anytime online counseling. And of course, if you’re not feeling well physically, contact your doctor.
This current crisis is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. So, finding ways to navigate it can be challenging – and pregnancy doesn’t make it any easier. We worry about everything from the little things, like finding toilet paper to pressing issues such as our finances and the health of our unborn baby. But, remembering that you’re not alone and that resources are available can help ease the stress. Your baby will soon be here, you’ll hold him in your arms, and you’ll begin the journey of a lifetime. Stay safe and be well.