Anxiety in pregnant women due to the coronavirus…

Pregnant-woman-large-

Many pregnant women may be anxious at the moment, as they have been told to isolate/practise extreme social distancing, even though there is no evidence as yet on whether they are vulnerable or not…Being isolated when you are feeling anxious or depressed is not helpful and added to that these women will of course be more worried than usual about their unborn baby.. So even though it is a long time since I was pregnant, I do know about anxiety as a professional, so here goes with some tips that might help if you are feeling anxious :

  • Follow the advice of your GP / obstetrician / midwife and only look at reputable sources of information online.
  • Continue with antenatal appointments, even if they have to be done remotely?
  • Ask for support whenever you need it – don’t forget pregnant women are not super women…
  • Indulge in creativity when the nesting instinct happens – more fun than housework!
  • Use worry time i.e. restrict yourself on how much news you watch etc and find a time in the day (e.g. 3pm?) when you can worry as much as you like for 15 minutes and then stop!
  • If worrying thoughts enter your mind at other times of the day, use mindfulness to just note them and let them go; either by using an app like Headspace or just grounding yourself in the present moment with 3 / 5 of your physical senses.
  • Remember thoughts / opinions do not equal facts…
  • Continue to get fresh air and exercise.
  • Learn deep rhythmic breathing (4 seconds to breathe in and 6 seconds to breathe out); if you find this difficult there may well be instructions on Youtube…
  • Stick to a regular routine with sleep and meal times etc. and if you nap in the afternoon don’t nap for too long…
  • Focus not on how bad the situation is at the moment, but on how lucky you are to be bringing a new life into the world – it gives you a purpose…
  • Use this time to get engrossed in music / good books / dramas on TV/ films via Netflix etc – as you won’t be able to do this when the baby comes!
  • When the baby does come make sure you breastfeed, as that will help with the baby’s immunity and you may still be able to contact breastfeeding counsellors over the phone if you need help – persevere with it if you haven’t had a previous child – don’t expect it to be easy, but it is worth it…
  • And for the first two weeks at least you won’t be able to have visitors to the house – not even the grandparents! But people will probably still send cards and gifts…
  • If the baby blues become something worse like postnatal depression – contact your GP straight away…
  • Talk to your partner and if they are not good listeners find someone else who is!
  • Many private therapists are still working, albeit mainly by Skype/Zoom, so there is still help out there for your anxiety even if it’s not readily available on the NHS…