Pregnancy in Covid-19
Pregnancy in itself is a very daunting time for all parents-to-be but Covid-19 has brought unprecedented challenges to expecting couples. Pregnant women have been identified as a vulnerable population and if infected they are more likely to be hospitalized and the risk for preterm birth increases.
A study recently conducted on pregnant women during the covid-19 outbreak found out that there was severe psychological impact on them and they were going through fear and depression. The pandemic has dramatically changed the overall pregnancy experience. Most of them are concerned about catching the virus and transmitting it to their new-born. How to keep the infants safe is something that is the highest point of concern.
The stress which stems at social isolation, loneliness, changes in hospital procedures, postnatal care and a lack of social support (as they would need to be quarantined) could leave a long-lasting mental health impact.
The good news is that prenatal stress during the pandemic can be tackled and reduced. There are things which can help expectant mothers to feel more in control. Few important points to understand and follow
1. Distance from constant news updates: Although it is imperative that you keep yourself updated with official guidelines for pregnant women, checking for constant news will only add to your anxiety. You could ask your partner, friend, family member to brief you with major relevant news.
2. Focus on your well-being: Staying active and healthy will help you deal with any anxiety that you have and make you feel more in control. You should try to follow a physical activity which really interests you.
3. Eat well and take good water intake: I can’t stress enough the importance to have a well-balanced diet for any expectant woman. It’s important that a baby receives all important nutrients. Better hydration is necessary, it will help you tackle anxiety efficiently. Dehydration will not only impact you but also your baby.
4. Avoid caffeine and alcohol: Consuming excessive caffeine can result in babies having low-birth weight. It could lead to an increase in health problems in later life. Consuming alcohol can impair healthy growth of the fetus, it can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth and range of lifelong disabilities.
5. Call family or friends : Stay connected with your close family and friends. Talk to someone who understands you, with whom you can share your anxious feelings. It’s important to feel connected even though this period of isolation will get your stress heightened up. Talk to them.
6. Regular sleep cycle: Develop a regular sleep pattern and follow it. Your body requires a system to which you adhere to. Proper rest and sleep are important factors to a healthy pregnancy especially during this pandemic.
7. Use distractions: If you find yourself spiraling out of control, try to distract yourself. You can listen to soothing, spiritual music. You can read books, do a jigsaw puzzle, colour, take a bath, watch light comedy series. All these will take your mind off.
8. This too shall pass: Take things one day at a time. Focus on the good and remember that this will be over soon. Be positive and confident that you will get through this.
9. Prepare for the baby : Online shopping for baby products which you will require after the arrival will prove very enjoyable. It will keep you occupied.
10. Sort out future course of action : Whether you hire a nanny or a japa maid it’s your call . But plan for it in advance and sort out such requirements.
Although Covid-19 has made in-person interactions next to impossible, technology like Zoom and FaceTime is a blessing. Online prenatal care is also a nice option. Keeping these in mind there are a few safety precautions that an expectant couple need to take to protect themselves from coronavirus and other infections:
▪ Wash your hands regularly and use hand sanitiser with a minimum 60% alcohol. Hand hygiene can really protect you from its exposure.
▪ Mask covering the mouth is most important.
▪ Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
▪ Practice social-distancing. Avoid contact with others as much as possible.
▪ Flu-vaccine must be taken on time. It makes you less susceptible to influenza, which leads to complications during pregnancy.
▪ Do not ignore any respiratory distress. If you develop a cough, do call your doctor.
▪ Work from home as much as possible.
▪ Online virtual consultation is the need of the hour. However regular or scheduled check ups and important investigations are a must . The risk you will take by not undergoing these will be way more than the risk of catching the virus.
Choose from your doctors private clinic and the hospital/nursing home where he consults wisely. Opt for a safer visit.
Keeping in mind the above points, the journey of bringing a new soul into this world will definitely be a happy and stress-free experience. Think of this as a blessing when you and your partner are both home-bound. Spend your time wisely and consciously. I hope this article was helpful in some way to expecting mothers. Do let me know what other precautions you are keeping in mind.
Stay safe and a Happy Pregnancy to you!