Tune in to your emotional wellness.
Fear and anxiety are likely at the forefront of your mind these days. Worries about your risk for illness, concerns for your unborn baby, uncertainty about the logistics of your delivery, and the many unknowns about COVID-19 are all valid during this unprecedented time. Now, more than ever, it is important to take time to calm your thoughts and care for yourself.
Consider a morning meditation or mindfulness exercise to begin your day with peace and positivity.
Limit your exposure to negative news stories. Instead focus on stories of kindness, community, and strength.
Engage in (or learn) an activity/hobby that brings you joy. Scrapbooking pregnancy milestones, coloring, knitting, or handwritten letters to friends/family are wonderful options.
Spend time outside. Go for a walk, garden, or simply sit in your yard. The benefits of Vitamin D during pregnancy include naturally enhancing mood, reducing the risk of pregnancy complications, and regulating the immune system.
Allow yourself joy and celebration.
Pregnancy is a special time in life and should not be overshadowed by the Coronavirus pandemic. You deserve to celebrate milestones, shop, and prepare for your new addition!
Don’t cancel your baby shower! Hold it virtually via zoom, google hangouts, Facebook Live, or another virtual platform. Or have a drive-by baby shower where guests can drive by, decorate their cars, and share their well wishes and gifts.
Have a maternity photoshoot! Now is a great time for your partner to practice his/her photography skills or try a tripod! Perhaps you have a trusted friend/family member or photographer who can take photos from afar (6+ feet away) in your yard. No contact needed! You may even want to wear your mask and gloves for fun and to capture the reality of this unique time.
Shop for those essential baby items online! Many companies are offering great discounts and easy returns.
Take breastfeeding and childbirth classes online. Use this time to research additional resources that may be beneficial post-delivery such as online parenting or postpartum support groups and classes.
Build a virtual support system.
Humans are social beings and socialization has been found to boost a positive sense of self, reduce stress, and strengthen the immune system. Thus, it is important to find new alternative options for socialization and support during this time of isolation and social distancing.
Consider joining an online group for pregnant moms via Facebook or pregnancy apps. Share and receive support during your pregnancy journey from peers who may be experiencing the same thoughts, emotions, challenges, and successes.
Utilize facetime or other virtual options to interact with loved ones. Connecting with family and friends and sharing your pregnancy journey help you feel less isolated and to pass time.
Explore options for support as delivery nears and during the postpartum period. For example, set up a meal train for neighbors/family/friends to deliver meals. Designate a support person to do your grocery shopping or run necessary errands. Finally, establish a person you can call on at any time. Someone who will be there for you day or night to listen, empathize, laugh, or cry with you during this challenging time.
Learn your options.
Your mind is likely racing with questions about doctors’ appointments, delivery plans, safety, and caring for a newborn baby during this pandemic. Be an advocate for yourself, talk to your providers, ask questions, share concerns, and learn your options.
OB appointments – discuss telehealth vs in-person visits. Many OB offices are decreasing the number of OB visits for low-risk pregnancies. Ask questions about in-person visits: is a support person allowed, if not can you facetime during your appointment, what precautions are used to protect patients, are patient appointments being spaced out to avoid contact, are patients able to wait in their car until their appointment time?
Preparing for delivery – learn about the policies and procedures being implemented at your delivering hospital. What will check in be like, is a support person allowed and can they stay until discharge, are there changes in newborn care or monitoring, what should you expect if baby requires care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit?
Seek help if needed.
You are likely flip-flopping through a multitude of emotions and concerns during this time. Isolation, loss of control, and fear can impact one’s emotional wellbeing. If you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety, depression, grief, or preoccupation with coronavirus, you may benefit from counseling. Many therapists are offering telemental health sessions (via video) for individual therapy, couples counseling, and perinatal support groups. All can be of great support during this time.