When it comes to pregnancy planning it can be a challenge to remove unnecessary stress and anxiety for the betterment of your pregnancy and mental health, add in a world-wide pandemic, mandatory shutdowns, and city-wide lockdowns and it can seem like an impossibility.
The stress and uncertainties accompanying the COVID-19 pandemic include a variety of new challenges, especially for expecting mothers. From added anxiety and worry to required lifestyle changes and delivery plan modifications, add to that the uncertainty over household finances and the new strains and trepidation can feel overwhelming and raise cause for concern. Aside from the concerns pertaining to COVID-19 and the impact that a positive test result may mean for you and your baby’s health, pregnancy life in general can take on a whole new feel during a pandemic.
Canceling Baby Shower and Photo Shoots
With shutdowns and social distancing mandates at the forefront of the world’s news, many couples may find themselves having to cancel anticipated events, including maternity photoshoots and the traditional and anticipated baby shower.
But that doesn’t mean that baby won’t be showered with gifts for his/her arrival, instead of canceling all together, postpone it until further notice, even if that means baby will be in attendance for his/her shower. For family and friends who still want to shower baby, and soon to be mom and dad with gifts, gift cards and online orders for automatic delivery can be setup for a plan B.
For those who were looking forward to a scenic maternity photoshoot, pass the time in self-quarantine with a DIY photoshoot instead. Nothing captures the times quite like a maternity shoot on the couch with a tub of anti-bacterial wipes and a roll of toilet paper on the coffee table as props. Or, have your photographer capture the moment from outside your home with staged window-framed poses.
Coping with the Added Anxiety
It’s normal to feel sad, stressed, confused, scared or angry during a crisis, add pregnancy into the mix and these emotions can feel out of control at times. Now more than ever it is key to reduce your stress as much as possible for mental and physical well-being of yourself and baby. Talking to people you trust can help. Get in touch with your loved ones and connect with them digitally through voice or video calls and confide in your partner regarding your mental state and concerns.
Dealing with your emotions in a healthy way can have a huge impact on how you process and approach hurdles due to pandemic procedures. Speak with your partner and have a plan ready in case you do start to feel overwhelmed.
Whether you are on mandatory lockdown or recommended social distancing, try to do some of the things you’ve done in the past to help manage challenges and stress. Whether it’s partaking of meditation and breathing exercises, exercise routines and yoga, indulging in aromatherapy, journaling, or crafting. Know that you’ve developed skills to manage your emotions and use them during this time, too.
As you limit your time out of the house and stay home, be sure to stay healthy by eating well, getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly and having good social contact with loved ones via phone or video chat.
Coping with the Lifestyle Changes and Supply Shortages
What is supposed to be one of the happiest times of a couple’s life has just turned into a bit of a cluster of chaos and confusion. From social distancing and lack of shopping options, the changes during a pandemic like COVID-19 can cause a number of concerns for expecting parents.
Social distancing can create a myriad of emotions especially when emotions are already heightened and fluctuating due to pregnancy hormones. Use this time to focus your efforts and energy on productive activities such as organizing the home, going through old clothes and household items, cleaning out the pantry and prepping food to freeze and have for a future date.
One concern that many expecting parents are being faced with is a lack of inventory when it comes to gathering supplies for their new baby when stores are being sold out due to panic buying. When this occurs, don’t panic. Enlist the help of others who may already be going to the store and ask them to keep an eye out for specific products you can’t find on your visits. If they find them have them drop them off at your doorstep and you can save yourself multiple daily trips and exposure to crowds. Seek online shopping options available for in-store pickup or home delivery and as a last resort, prioritize your shopping list by absolute essentials such as formula (if needed) or baby furniture such as a car seat and crib, or find alternate options you can use short- or long-term such as cloth diapers or reusable wipes and burping cloths.
A Change in Delivery Plan
Pregnant women preparing to head to the delivery room amid the COVID-19 pandemic are understandably anxious, for many women, childbirth is one of the most intense and emotional experiences of their lives, and health concerns aside, pandemic procedures and raised concerns at hospitals can result in necessary changes in delivery plans.
Women are now faced with the possibility of delivering babies in hospitals filled with COVID-19 patients and their previous plans for where to give birth and who will be with them are often now in question.
Depending upon the severity of the outbreak in their area, some women are faced with added security precautions, pre-screenings and even the alarming news that in an effort to keep risk factors for COVID-19 to a minimum for patients and staff, visitors and even delivery room support are not allowed.
Likewise, many doctors’ offices are requesting less visitors during appointments and pregnant women may be requested to leave their partner at home or in the car for routine exams and checkups.
While these changes aren’t ideal for women embarking on the path to motherhood, they should prepare themselves to be flexible for any procedural changes at local hospitals that they may encounter. Even if this means a delivery room with no partner support or family waiting to visit, the best course of action for pregnant women is to put their trust in the medical staff and their decisions for maintaining a sterile environment and providing them with the best possible care within their means. While the new delivery changes can be scary, it’s important to remember that at the end of the day, the important thing is everyone’s health and wellbeing.
Keeping Family Away
As tempting as it may be to have family over to see their new grandson/granddaughter or niece/nephew, keep in mind that safety should be the number one priority for everyone involved. That means postponing a family gets together until medical and political officials give the okay.
In the meantime, set up an introduction through a glass window or a video chat for friends and family to enjoy the joy of seeing your little one and build up even more anticipation to meet in person.
Aside from the added excitement of showing off the new love of your life, one thing that may hinder new parent’s plans is the lack of extra help from family and friends once the baby is born and is home from the hospital. While this can add extra strain on mom and dad, use this as an opportunity to bond with baby and get all the cuddles and baby carries in as possible, knowing that when the virus’ risks are well behind us, you’ll have a slew of family and friends anxiously waiting to hold your little bundle of joy.
While the added stress, changes and protocols may make the pregnancy experience a little different than you had in mind, keep in mind that you are not going at it alone, and while these changes may be a bit of they are all being done for your own safety and for the safety of those around you.
Related Content: The Benefits of Delayed Cord Clamping
In the past, the common practice was to pass Dad the surgical scissors and have him perform a quick snip just before the newborn babe was whisked away to be cleaned, measured and dosed with vitamin K. Any delay in cord cutting was viewed as unnecessary in promoting general health for the baby or mother. However, recent research suggests that a delay of even three minutes can have a significant positive impact on infants.