Experiencing a range of emotions during pregnancy is normal, but throw in a pandemic and you’ve got a real rollercoaster on your hands! For some, face masks, lone appointments and minimal interaction is all they know as they adapt the best they can, but for others, their fairytale pregnancy has turned into a living nightmare as they have been left devastated at such a special time. But one thing is for sure, there is no right or wrong way to feel, so if you are worried, concerned or simply looking for pregnancy related information, then we are here to help.
How To Stay Safe In Pregnancy
While there is no evidence to suggest that pregnant women are more at risk from Coronavirus, you can never be too careful so it’s best to be vigilant by:
- Washing your hands regularly and thoroughly.
- Avoid touching your face - we touch our faces, on average, 23 times per hour so we know this is a tough habit to crack, but try and refrain until you are home and have washed your hands.
- Wearing a face covering and keeping it clean.
- Maintaining social distance.
- Avoid mixing with people unnecessarily.
- Using online shopping for groceries, baby essentials and of course the odd treat for yourself.
Looking After Your Mental Health
If you have suffered with mental health or you are finding yourself overwhelmed with the current situation, then know that you are not alone. Many women fear that speaking up about their honest thoughts and feelings in pregnancy may put a spotlight on them, or worse, that they could have their baby taken off them, but this is not the case, so if you are feeling different in any way, then the sooner you talk about it the better.
If you don’t feel comfortable confiding in a friend or family member then don’t worry there are many organisations that can help such as PANDAS Foundation, which is a fantastic service offering help and support with perinatal mental health that affects women's emotional and psychological wellbeing during pregnancy and up to three years post partum. They have a free helpline and email support should you prefer not to speak directly to anyone.
Ways To Ask For Help
Don’t forget a newborn baby means a newborn parent, whether it's your first or fifth, each pregnancy, each birth, each baby is different so don’t feel it has to be a certain way, or that you can’t ask for help. Here are our top tips for getting the help you need
- Communicate - Don’t be afraid to speak up about how you’re feeling or what you need. Talk to your partner, friends or family for a little pick me up when needed.
- Be Clear With What You Need - most people are not mind readers so if your hints are falling on deaf ears then speak up! Keep a list of things you need so if anyone asks how to help you’ll know exactly what to say. From household chores to some self care time on your own, don’t forget to look after yourself too.
- Ask for professional help - If you are feeling overwhelmed and you are struggling but you don’t know where to turn then speak to your GP, midwife or health professional who will be able to guide you in the right direction. Don’t suffer in silence.
- Use Social Media - love it or hate it, sometimes a little scroll works wonders. Use it to follow like minded hashtags and accounts, quite often you’ll find that so many women are feeling exactly the same.
- Online platforms and support groups - Websites such as Mumsnet.com and Netmums.com (not to get the two confused) are both hugely popular as they are packed with information from conception to pregnancy to parenting so there’s something for every stage.
Advice - Of The Welcome Kind (We Hope)
Yes you may know what to expect in terms of the stages of pregnancy but expanding your family by one is completely new so of course you’ll need time to adjust. Figuring out the logistics of school runs, shopping trips, car seats and buggies require nothing short of a medal at times! Here’s some of our favourite Mum advice . . .
Try Not To Get Too Fixated On The Birth Plan
Babies have a wonderful way of changing birth plans at the best of times, but with government guidance changing all the time, it’s best to plan as things stand now then anything else is a bonus, as long as it’s a safe delivery, that’s all that matters.
Try Not To Watch Or Read Too Much News
Stress is not good for you or your baby, so try to remain calm by focusing on you and your family during this time.
Stay Connected With Friends And Family
Ok, we might not be able to socialise as before but that doesn’t mean human contact is out of the question completely. Sometimes you just can’t beat a good catch up with friends, so pick up that phone and get chatting, or pop out for a socially distanced coffee . . . any excuse for cake, right?
Keep A Journal
Mental health and wellbeing is more important than ever, so what better time to put pen to paper to record your thoughts and feelings. Use it to dream of future plans and what you hope for your family, but it's also a great tool for keeping track of your mood. Hormone fluctuations are normal but if you feel things getting worse then reach out to someone who can help.
Be Kind To Yourself
Ask any Mum if they feel in control 100% of the time and I guarantee it's a resounding no! Most of us are winging it on a daily basis so don’t feel that you have to have everything figured out, it will come.
Use Your Maternity Services
Most NHS trusts have maternity advice lines where you can speak directly to a trained midwife, so if you have any questions about your pregnancy then don’t be afraid to call, they are there to help.
Register For Online Antenatal Classes
More and more classes are going online and antenatal is no different! A great way to learn what to expect from the comfort of your own home, what's not to love?!
I know that may sound tough and things might be different to what you expected but it’s still your time, so if you can, make the most of it as we promise the months will soon fly by.
For the latest information on pregnancy and coronavirus head over to Tommys.org where you’ll find a list of FAQ’s that are constantly being updated as per the latest guidelines.
Perks Of Being Pregnant In A Pandemic
We understand that it may feel unsettling at times, but we promise there are positives to be had too, and while some women flourish during pregnancy with the enviable pregnancy “glow” of luscious locks, clear skin and nails to die for, others break out in acne, develop Monica Geller hair - you know, the one with the humidity, and let’s not even talk about the water retention! So whether you’re a friend or foe to the glow, here are some perks to being pregnant in a pandemic that we hope will make you smile.
- You don’t have to squeeze yourself into uncomfortable clothes as your bump begins to grow, especially if you are still in the first trimester and haven’t announced your baby news yet, bring on the pjs!
- There’s no need to order a lemonade and pretend it’s vodka at social events. This also ties in with not having to make excuses to avoid social events too, phew!
- You won’t be inundated with unsolicited advice or unwanted birthing stories. What is it with people that think you want all their gory details when you announce your pregnancy?!
- No comments on how big, small or neat your bump is, we’ll leave that one there.
- No touching the bump. Every mum is different when it comes to pregnancy, some embrace the bump and love nothing more than people feeling every move, others might be struggling with the changes or just not like their personal space invaded, respect the boundaries people!
- Being able to avoid morning sickness triggers. I use the term morning loosely as some Mums suffer sickness all throughout the day, so being able to avoid the smell of coffee, perfume or bacon is a god send!
- No daily commute. Whether it’s morning sickness, the constant need to pee or final trimester niggles, some days the struggle is real, so being able to stay at home in your pjs is pure bliss.
- Power naps, afternoon naps or those first trimester naps that turn into goodnight naps! Growing a tiny human is exhausting so being able to listen to your body and nap on demand is heaven!
- Having quality time with your partner and other children if you already have them is a once in a lifetime experience so why not enjoy it and make the most of it.
- No chance of unwanted visitors turning up at your house so the whole family can enjoy a pj day in peace.