Pregnancy can stir up a lot of emotions, to begin with, and now amid the Covid-19 pandemic, there are even more concerns. Will my baby or myself get sick? Will we be ok? Is it safe to be in a hospital? Will my partner be able to be in the delivery room? What will it be like quarantined with a newborn?
Mental health is so important, especially when pregnant and beyond. And, changes in hormones don’t make it any easier to cope. What can you do to take care of yourself and your baby during these trying times?
Be Aware Of Symptoms
I am not talking about Coronavirus symptoms, although those are still very important, but more so stress, anxiety, depression. Notice when you are feeling overwhelmed, experiencing changes in appetite, frequent feelings of fear and worry, poor quality sleep, or problems concentrating. These are all signs that you could benefit from seeing a pregnancy or postpartum counselor.
It is important to have a trusted person to talk things out with, someone who can help with healthy coping solutions. Someone who isn’t going to add to anxious feelings but rather help to calm them in some way.
Limit Media Exposure
There is a lot of information out there and it is best taken in small doses. I know that sometimes it can be tempting to keep the news on in the background but it can easily contribute to feelings of worry.
Pay attention to how you feel when watching TV or scrolling social media and if those feelings aren’t good—stop. We are all craving connection but the information from those outlets do not always leave us feeling our best.
Talk To Your Doctor
Your doctor likely knows what you need to be concerned about and can help to calm some of your fears. Have an open dialogue with them so they know what you are struggling with and try to come up with a plan.
What might delivery look like? How can you be prepared? Mentally setting yourself up for what things might be like on the day of delivery can help. It might not be ideal but at least you won’t be blindsided.
It is always important to practice self-care, especially when pregnant. Try meditation or deep breathing exercises to calm your anxiety. There are a lot of free apps online that can help, including Headspace, Calm, and Insight Timer.
Try an online yoga class to clear your head and get moving. Go for walks and get outside (while social distancing). Fresh air can be a huge mood booster. Try to keep a regular sleep schedule and eat healthy, feel-good foods. Distract yourself with hobbies or personal interests such as reading, writing, crafting, etc.
There is nothing worse than ruminating in your thoughts. Stay connected to friends and family through internet apps and phone calls. Play some games, laugh it out, distract yourself from your worries.
There are a variety of online pregnancy forums that might help to ease your fears. Talk to other pregnant and postpartum women about their experiences. But, beware, if those groups are making you feel worse—disconnect.
Involve Your Partner
Share your concerns with your partner. If he/she/they can’t be in the delivery room, come up with a plan to video chat as much as possible. Have something special you can hold during the delivery process, and a way to commemorate the experience—pictures or video can be nice.
Work together to write down some of the positives of being quarantined with a newborn—no outside obligations, more time to sleep, extra cuddle time, no guests to worry about, etc.
Prepare your home for when the baby comes home. Have enough food on hand and the proper supplies so you won’t have to make any last-minute grocery runs.
These are hard times and they might not look the way you want them to, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be ok. Take care of yourself and check-in with your body.
At Move Forward, we are here for you. We have counselors who specialize in pregnancy and postpartum mental health. We offer flexible hours and online therapy appointments. Call us today to find out more 717-462-7003×1.
Author: Alison Pidgeon, LPC
Alison is the Founder and CEO of Move Forward Counseling, a boutique private practice for women with three locations in Lancaster County, PA. She is passionate about reducing the stigma related to accessing mental health services. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.