Having a baby is a big deal. It’s exciting, sure, but it’s also pretty scary, especially if it is your first time. Many expectant mothers feel anxious, scared, and unsure. It’s normal to feel a massive range of emotions, often all at the same time, as your life and body change and your hormones have a party. And that’s when the world is ordinary. At the moment, the world is far from normal, and whether you are pregnant with your first baby or your fifth, doing it in the middle of a global pandemic is bound to mean further stress and anxiety and new challenges to navigate. Here are some practical tips to help you to manage stress and even manage to enjoy your pregnancy at such an unprecedented time.
Pregnant in a Pandemic – Practical Tips to Help
Keep Up to Date with Restrictions and Guidance
Rules and restrictions when it comes to lockdowns, social distancing, and visiting other people are different all over the world, and the healthcare and maternity services on offer are wildly different too. In some areas, things are relatively normal. You might have to wear a face-covering and practice social distancing in waiting rooms, but the services that you are offered might be fairly standard. In other places, you might only be able to see a midwife in person in an emergency, and your partner might not be able to attend scans and other routine appointments. In some hospitals, partners aren’t allowed to come into the hospital until labour is established, and other visitors aren’t allowed at all.
Make sure you understand the restrictions in your area and that you know what to expect. If you have any questions, get in touch with your midwife or primary care doctor who will help. Remember to regularly check for changes and updates, especially as you get closer to birth, as things are changing quickly.
Take Care of Yourself
Pandemic or not, the most important job you have is taking care of yourself. This will help to keep your baby safe, and yourself fit and healthy. Get plenty of rest, take any vitamins recommended by your healthcare team, and eat a healthy diet. Try to limit your contact with people from outside of your household, and consider finishing work a little earlier than you might have done or working from home if possible. Then, get plenty of sleep, and remember to trust your instincts. If you are worried about anything, seek help as soon as possible.
Get Some Exercise
Exercise can help you to stay healthy during pregnancy and even make birth easier. But, another bonus of exercise which is especially beneficial at the moment, is its ability to reduce your stress levels. You might want to (or have to) stay away from gyms and indoor health centres. You should go for daily walks and consider prenatal yoga to reduce stress and tension.
Accept Any Help You Can
Think about what you need. If you haven’t had a chance to shop for the baby, or there’s still a few things you need, a complete baby registry checklist for new parents could be extraordinarily useful. Do you need to arrange childcare for an older child if you go into labour? Would you like someone to help with cooking or cleaning? Will you need a lift to the hospital? Don’t be scared to ask for help when you need it, and if help is offered, say yes, even if you don’t think that you particularly need it.
Consider Your Birth Plan
Home births have become exceptionally popular in the last few months. Having your baby at home means that you don’t need to go into hospital, risking exposure to the virus. It also means that your partner can be with you the whole time, and you have your home comforts close to hand. If you would prefer to be in a hospital, make sure you know what to expect, as things could be very different.
Don’t Worry About the Things You Can’t Control
It’s easy to read the news and become distressed about everything going on in the world. But, stress is bad for you and your baby. Don’t worry about all of the things that you can’t control. Instead, focus on what you can do. Fill your days with small tasks like washing baby clothes and packing your bag. You might find that limiting your news intake and staying off social media helps you avoid being overwhelmed with worrying or bad news.
Having a baby right now is bound to be scary, but remember, while the experience will be different, the results will be the same.