When the Covid-19 vaccines started to be administered, we all breathed a collective sigh of relief. We may soon return to a new sense of normal, after all.
For pregnant moms-to-be, however, stressing about COVID-19 (and everything else that could happen to your bun in the oven), doesn’t just go away with a few jabs. Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Anxiety is a perfectly normal response during any pregnancy.
The good news is that there are ways you can reduce your anxiety! Firstly, because there are so many ways that your baby is protected from COVID-19, and secondly, because there are some great tried-and-tested techniques that can ease your worries.
Here are 7 ways to feel more in control:
1. Stay safe, but stop obsessing over COVID-19
Unfortunately, the CDC says that pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant people. They also might be at increased risk for other adverse outcomes, such as preterm birth.
However, there is light at the end of the tunnel: Studies also show that the COVID-19 virus has not been found in vaginal fluid, in cord blood or breastmilk. It also hasn’t been detected in amniotic fluid or the placenta. This most likely means that even if you do contract the virus, your baby is protected. New-borns whose mothers tested positive for COVID-19 are also born with antibodies.
That said, the best thing you can do is to take all necessary precautions to prevent yourself from contracting COVID-19. Continue to social distance, work from home if possible, mask up and follow all safety precautions. Worried about an event? Skip it. You can absolutely put you and your baby first.
2. Avoid continuous news updates
No one is saying that you shouldn’t keep up to date with official guidelines during a pandemic, but too much news can be bad for anyone’s anxiety. By simply switching off the flood of bad news and negative online comments that wash over us every day, you can clear your mind for more positive thoughts.
3. Live in the moment
Many of our fears tend to be ‘what ifs’ instead of ‘actually ares.’ Thinking about what might be is a very normal response during uncertain times, because our brains like to be in control – that’s why we’re constantly searching for answers and ways to predict the future. Being in control makes us feel safe. The problem is that we end up asking a lot of questions that we don’t have the answers for, which actually just raise our anxiety levels. There’s a simple fix, though: Focus on how you feel in the moment and what you’re doing now. Your pregnancy is fleeting – enjoy every moment of it.
4. Phone a friend
There’s nothing more healing than talking through your feelings. If you’re having a bad day, pick up the phone and call a friend, a family member or even a colleague. Ten to one they could use some human connection as well – remember, we’re all in this together.
5. Be kind to yourself
Some anxiety is a natural reaction to what’s happening in the world. Stop feeling as if the world needs you to always be a happy, glowing pregnant person – yes, this is an incredible time of your life, and an absolute gift. It’s also scary. Life can be both things. When you’re having a bad day, forgive yourself, be kind, and focus on your personal wellness.
Staying healthy and well is an excellent way to manage anxiety, make you feel more in control, and keep baby healthy. Try to:
- Avoid caffeine
- Don’t smoke or drink alcohol
- Eat well
- Drink plenty of water
- Establish regular sleep habits.
6. Stay active every day
Exercise releases endorphins, and endorphins make us happy, so a great way to lift your mood is to stay active. The best part of staying active during pregnancy is that you don’t need to do aerobics or a spin class to get the endorphins you need. A walk or some yoga will do the job, reduce stress, and make your unborn baby happy too.
7. Speak to your GP, OBGYN or midwife
Anxiety in pregnancy is very common. Your doctors know this, and they’re there to lend an ear, listen to your concerns and to offer advice. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. It’s not always easy to know whether your feelings are manageable or a sign of something more serious. Trust yourself. And keep talking to those who are caring for you as they can explore if you might need some more support.
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