Lockdown has changed life for so many people, in so many ways. But what about when new life is due to begin in lockdown? The thought of giving birth can be daunting, especially for people who are pregnant whilst the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the world.
We spoke to some new mums who have given birth during coronavirus to ask, what is it like to be pregnant during a pandemic?
There are some reasons to celebrate being pregnant during a pandemic. One being that morning sickness is a lot easier to deal with if you don’t have to go anywhere! No longer do pregnant women have to fear throwing up in a meeting or on the bus, as they’re probably only a few seconds away from the toilet at all times. Small blessings!
Of course, morning sickness still isn’t pleasant. If you feel that yours is very extreme then it might be hyperemesis gravidarum, which often requires hospital treatment. Make sure to get in touch with your doctor if this is the case.
Different pregnancies, different experiences
Being pregnant in lockdown is going to be very different for everybody – pregnancy is such a personal experience. But, it’s safe to say that if you’re pregnant for the first time during lockdown, it’s going to be more challenging than if it’s your third pregnancy and you’re used to the process.
Be kind to yourself and take each day as it comes. There are some really helpful pregnancy tracker apps which walk you through your baby’s development a day at a time. Resources like these might help you to make sense of the changes you’ll experience in your body.
Appointments might be different
Depending on where you live and how strict restrictions are in your country, going to the hospital for scans and check-ups might be a different process than what you might have expected. In some countries, partners aren’t able to attend appointments with pregnant women for safety reasons. To be best prepared, make sure to ask what you can expect in advance.
Will my baby be okay?
The world is a scary place at the moment, so understandably, you might have some anxiety around whether your baby will be okay. In terms of COVID-19, there is very little risk of death to babies and young children, so unless your baby is born with underlying health issues, they will be just as safe as if you gave birth to them at any other time. If you’re feeling especially nervous or you have particular questions about yours or your baby’s health, make sure to check in with your midwife.
The World Health Organisation has published lots of information about pregnancy and covid-19 here.
Also, you can read more about young children and covid-19 here.
Virtual baby shower
One of the hardest things about the pandemic is being separated from friends and family. This can be especially hard when you have something big you want to share and celebrate with your nearest and dearest – such as being pregnant!
As with other social events during 2020, technology can come to your rescue! Set up a video chat and meet your friends and family online for a celebration. If you all have a drink and a slice of cake at the same time, you can feel that little bit closer to them!
Getting everything that you need
If you’re pregnant, have you been filled with the urge to nest? Naturally, when we know our baby is due, we want to prepare our homes so that we’re as ready as possible in advance of their big arrival. But this may be harder to do if you live in a country where shops haven’t been opened back up yet – or if you’re keen to minimise your contact with the outside world.
Equally, you will need to prepare your maternity bag for taking to the hospital. Are you able to get hold of everything you need?
Luckily, in this case, we live in the age of internet shopping, where most things you need can be ordered online. There are also lots of review sites such as Which, and MumsNet, to help you to make your decision without being able to see the product in real life. Remember to check the postage advice on the company websites to make sure that you’ll get what you need in time.
If you’re keen to remain as sustainable as possible, check out your local buy and sell groups on Facebook – there are often people selling all you need for a newborn baby, at a much cheaper cost than if you bought brand new. You can talk in advance with the person you’re buying from about how to stay safe and distant during the transaction.
Here are our other tips for staying sustainable during the pandemic.
Being a new parent can be a difficult and lonely time, especially if you’re the first one in your group of friends to take the plunge. Lots of new parents have found this loneliness especially difficult during lockdown – the support networks you might normally access aren’t available. Mum and baby groups aren’t running at the moment and you can’t just pop to a café to be amongst the hustle and bustle when being at home with your baby feels isolating. Instead, make use of the internet – there are some amazing online communities full of supportive parents who are going through exactly the same thing at the moment. Tap into those if you can! Other than that, be sure to keep in touch with your friends and family, even if that’s just over the phone.
If you and your family have different ideas about what is and isn’t safe, you might have to be firm and set some boundaries. Remember, it is your right as a parent to do what you feel is best for your child. With the strangeness of the times, comes a heightened risk of post-natal depression. If you feel that you aren’t doing so well with your mental health, then make sure to check in with a health professional, such as your midwife or doctor. Life doesn’t pause for a pandemic and your mental health is just as important as your physical health.
Are you pregnant at the moment? Let us know how you’re dealing with your pregnancy in the comments below!