10 ways pregnant women can manage mental health during COVID-19 pandemic
Motherhood is a life-changing event with its own challenges, bundles of emotions, and preparations. Similarly, the coronavirus pandemic is also an equal life-changing tectonic event across the globe, touching every human life and their ways of functioning. Thus, the COVID-19 pandemic has become a global health crisis, and has a devastating effect on everyone, especially on pregnant women.
Globally, different countries are implementing various measures to slow the spread of the virus by isolation, quarantine, physical distancing (social distancing is a misnomer), early identification of infections, contact tracing, etc.
Listed below are a few measures for the would-be mothers to maintain mental health during the pandemic:
1. Be realistic
With more and more digital connectedness, the opinions, choices, and expectations are shaped constantly by the social media platforms, besides family and friends. It is important to embrace the basic truth that pregnancy can be challenging, and looking after the baby can be hard during such a crisis. It is important to be prepared to keep in mind the needs of the mother and baby, and the existing resources than a pre-existing plan.
2. Acknowledge distress
It is important for pregnant women to prepare for parenthood by reading about the need for maintaining mental health during the lockdown, the risk factors associated with it, the ways of identifying the distress, and seeking help. There are many online platforms and blogs that provide authentic information about mental health during pregnancy.
3. Limit the exposure to COVID-19 related news
It is natural to constantly seek more and more information during the crisis, but this would only further add to the underlying anxiety and fear of getting infected. Also, a lot of fake news keeps circulating, resulting in the dissemination of false information.
Try to seek COVID-19 updates periodically from authenticated websites, news portals, and government announcements, and limit any conversations related to it with your peers and family.
4. Maintain physical and psychological hygiene
Personal hygiene by frequent handwashing with soap and water, respiratory hygiene by coughing into your elbow or into a tissue and disposing of it properly, cleanliness in vicinities at home, practicing regular sleep routine and healthy and nutritious eating is recommended.
5. Practice mindfulness
It is natural for the couple to be concerned about bringing a baby into a pandemic, thus increasing stress and uncertainty. Try to focus on the current moment more than yesterday or tomorrow. Build your problem-solving approaches on variables that you can control at the current moment than others.
6. Practice physical distancing, not emotional distancing
Be it during the lockdown or the period following it, pregnant women might need to maintain the physical distance and limit the social exposure due to the nature of the infection, which is widespread and there is lack of definitive treatment.
Try to practice physical distancing, but build a strong support system being indoors by connecting with your family and friends through digital platforms and fulfilling your emotional needs.
7. Build a routine
It is important to build a healthy routine with physical activity, yoga, and meditation sessions. Even during the pandemic, these sessions can be incorporated as part of your routine as several platforms are conducting live sessions and enrolling in it would build a sense of collectiveness, create interest in the activities, and most importantly allays any symptoms of anxiety.
8. Pre schedule appointments and limit hospital visits
It is suitable to consult your gynaecologist for regular scans and ante-natal check-ups with pre-scheduled appointments and confirmations, and limiting the exposure to hospital premises. It is preferable to use teleconsultations services for any other purpose.
9. Me-time activities
It is very important to have personal space invested in relaxing oneself by activities such as music, reading, or anything of choice.
10. Talk to someone
If you are having any disturbing thoughts, worry, or concern, try to communicate with your partner, family member, or a friend. If you are finding any difficulty, try to discuss your thoughts, and be honest with them. If there are any difficulties to discuss, you might request them to help you find any helpline or professional consultation.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)