Over the last few weeks I’ve had so many mums ask me how best to cope with being pregnant with everything going on with Coronavirus. The world has completely stopped and turned upside down, no-one knows what to expect, which can be naturally worrying for an expecting mum. The common feelings I’ve come across are fear, anxiety, confusion and stress! That’s why I wanted to give you some ideas on how to deal with the coming weeks and months:
KNOW YOUR OPTIONS
With limited or no birth partners allowed in the hospital and homebirth units being closed down, you need to speak to your caregivers about your options. The situation might mean you don’t get to birth how you initially wanted, but it doesn’t have to be negative. Finding out as much information on what to expect will help calm your nerves when the time comes. Remember, circumstances may have changed but you can still work with your midwife/consultant to have a positive birth experience.
I know this is easier said than done, especially as you don’t know what’s going to happen. But staying calm is crucial for your hormones to work well for your labour to naturally progress. There are a few things you can do regularly to help relieve your stress and keep you positive:
Aromatherapy – lavender and frankincense are especially good for stress and anxiety
Hypnobirthing – the scripts and breathing techniques will not only keep you calm while you’re doing it, but it will teach your body to stay calm during birth
Affirmations – these can be so powerful. Telling yourself every day ‘my body is created to birth my baby’ will help your mindset and give you confidence in giving birth, whatever the circumstances.
Staff in the NHS are working incredibly hard to help those suffering from Coronavirus, which means a lot of mums are now terrified to have their baby, worrying if they’ll get the support they need. Most hospitals are now only allowing a max. of 1 birth partner (from the same household), which means doulas aren’t allowed in at all. But, you can still can get all of your antenatal sessions remotely as well as phone support throughout labour and birth. Another alternative for those of you who would like a home-birth is to hire a private midwife. Getting professional support can really make a difference in feeling emotionally and mentally supported, allowing you to still have a calm birth.
ONLINE ANTENATAL CLASSES
All in-person antenatal classes have now been stopped, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop learning. You can still learn everything you need from online classes and courses. It’s important to keep up with them and learn about what happens to your body, what to expect during birth and ways to have a positive experience…even in this situation. There are plenty of antenatal and hypnobirthing classes available either online or virtually through video-call.
A lot of mums think there’s no point in writing a birth plan as you don’t know what to expect, and you can never ‘plan’ your birth. Birth Planning is not about creating the perfect plan of how you want your baby to arrive. If done in the right way, you’ll be finding out a lot about what your choices are and understand more about what’s available to you. It also means that you don’t have to make really tough decisions during labour, when you’re overwhelmed, exhausted and probably can’t think clearly. I always suggest to my clients to make 3 birth plans:
1 – Your ideal birth
2 – Contingencies/What if’s
3 – Cesarean
PREGNANCY YOGA & MEDITATION
Coronavirus means social distancing and self-isolation, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Take this time to reflect on your pregnancy, your life, and think about what it’ll be like when your baby arrives. A great way to help you stay relaxed is doing daily yoga or meditation, many pregnancy yoga teachers are now offering their classes virtually otherwise YouTube is always a great place to start.
START A HOBBY
With so much time on our hands now, it’s so easy to spend it stressing about how bad things can get. Instead, use that time to start a new hobby. Whether that’s studying for a course you have an interest in, reading a book you’ve been putting off, knitting or painting. Take this time to find your passion and do something you love. This will really help your oxytocin rise for when your baby is ready to arrive.
BONDING WITH YOUR FAMILY
I left this until last because it’s so important . We live such a fast-paced life that for many of us, spending time with our loved ones goes on the bottom of our list. We’re now put in a situation where we’re going to be spending most of our days indoors with our children and partners. Take this time to spend some real quality time with them and bond before your baby arrives. We might be self-isolated, but you can still spend time in the garden or do a daily family walk around the block…adhering to social distancing of course!