Updated: Apr 13, 2020
Being pregnant during COVID-19 is no easy feat
Whether you’ve had to cancel your baby shower, adjust your birth plan, had to give birth without your partner in the hospital room or have decided to avoid hospitals altogether and have an at-home birth, you’ve had to make some big changes in your pregnancy and birth journey because of COVID-19. At Rhea, we love and support all of you who are pregnant during the pandemic, and after doing some research, we’ve compiled facts, stories, and suggestions to help during this time. Perhaps, what is most important to know is that if you’re pregnant during the 2020 COVID pandemic and feeling panicked–you
are not alone.
It is projected that more than 3.9 million women will be pregnant in the US in 2020
Panic, anxiety, or sadness are all normal things to feel right now. Some women are getting different news every day about hospital or birthing center. Even though it can feel like the world is ending–choosing activities that decrease your stress and increase happiness is very important. Stress makes everything worse; it affects the health of the baby and you. Doing calming activities will decrease the stress hormones in your body and has proven to improve your immune system and help your baby stay healthy.
Take a break from the news and internet
While it is very important to stay informed on your local laws and advice from the community leaders, maybe let your partner or someone else be your news source for awhile. Studies show that excessively watching the news or excessively being on social media can increase anxiety, obsessive thinking, and depression. So take a break from the news and read your favorite novel instead, take a bath, or take on that 1000 piece puzzle your dad got you for Christmas. It is very important to do grounding things, things that make you happy, instead of focusing on things that can exacerbate fear, anxiety, or discouragement.
Stay home but stay social
If you had visited a fortune-teller before getting pregnant and they’d predicted that during the nine months of your pregnancy all the malls and playgrounds would be closed, that everyone would be walking around with face masks on, and there would be tumbleweeds in the parks instead of people, you’d think they were over the top. If they told you that while you were pregnant you would be homebound for months at a time without visits from friends or family and that most your doctors appointments would be over the phone, and ultimately that you’d give birth with a mask over your face only with the medical assistants and your partner at home watching through video chat, you’d think they were downright crazy. But, these are the times we live in.
We encourage you to stay home and stay safe, but do not give up social time! Schedule times to contact your friends and family frequently. Have a virtual gender reveal and virtual baby shower. Having a support system to rely on will help immensely.
There is an old parable about the women of a village who would go gather water from a community well every day. They would talk about their lives, tell embarrassing stories, laugh, cry and bond at that well. Soon the village installed plumbing to each home so no one needed to go gather water from the community well. Guess what happened? The women in the village became lonely and depressed. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, hold tight to your social support.
In the meanwhile
There is always a silver lining. Perhaps you can use this time homebound to learn the skill you’ve always wanted to. You can schedule weekly or daily times to call or video chat with family members or friends. Based on the restrictions and government recommendations in your area, you may be able to go for walks in your community or get curbside food. Some other suggestions for you amazing mamas and soon-to-be mamas out there:
Write that novel that's been in your head for years
Start playing an old instrument or a new one
Join a book club
Learn that hobby you've always wanted to
Start learning a new language
Play an online board game with family
Join an online class
The National Theater in London is offering free showings of their plays on their Youtube channel. (Many other businesses and companies are offering similar discounts or freebies.)
After the baby comes--fourth trimester and beyond
After your baby comes, do not enter the fourth trimester alone. At Rhea Women’s Health, we’ve created real-time online postnatal courses where you’ll learn from female postnatal professionals and be able to share your experiences with other moms in your community. It is crucial to maintain good mental health during the first year after the baby is born. Learn about how to prevent and manage postpartum depression, anxiety, anger, OCD, or apathy. Learn about core and pelvic floor rehabilitation, so that doing jumps ropes doesn't mean incontinence, and having sex doesn't mean discomfort or pain. Most importantly, create a support system with other moms. You are not alone.