Covid-19 Pandemic has affected all of us around the world, and when you are pregnant, it has made the entire situation more stressful for you than ever. The most common problem the women face in pregnancy is Stress and depression. To this, the worries of the Pandemic are added and there are a lot of Pregnant women who are feeling worse during this time. Sharing with you today some tips to calm yourself down, help you in your Anxiety, and maintain your emotional wellbeing.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety in simple terms is the feeling of unease, worry or fear of something not going well. Anxiety itself is normal as everyone feels it but when people find it difficult to control or divert from these feeling it can lead to depression, panic attacks.
Anxiety is a mental health condition and not something you must feel ashamed about. Pregnant woman have many reasons to feel anxious . The constant worry of your health, your baby can elevate restlessness or cause insomnia.
For many years anxiety, depression have been a taboo and not many people want to talk about it even now. But it is important to deal with the situation rather than running away from it.
Anxiety In Pandemic When you are Pregnant
How common is Anxiety in pregnancy?
Pregnancy is a very emotional experience and it is difficult to understand that whether what you are feeling is manageable or requires professional help. You are the best judge of your emotions and if you feel anxious or panic during pregnancy , you should seek help.
Anxiety in pregnancy is very common. While researching about anxiety and pregnancy I found out that
- A very large fraction of women who get postpartum depression had the symptoms in their pregnancy as well.
- If a woman has high stress in pregnancy, it may get through even after delivery for couple of years. High level of stress increases the chances of anxiety and depression.
- Anxiety and depression during pregnancy can continue for many years.
It is scary to know that for 1 out of 5 women who struggled with anxiety in their pregnancy would have these symptoms for her lifetime.
Feeling anxious or afraid about giving birth is normal. You do not have to be hard on yourself as this is an important life even. Talk to your doctor and do positive things to help yourself prepare for the labor.
Does Anxiety Affect the Baby?
Worrying about whether anxiety or stress will cause effect on your child’s development is quite possible. But this can create a vicious circle.
The stress and anxiety from the mother is very unlikely to affect a baby if proper treatment and support is provided to the mother. Hence always focus on asking for help when you feel anxious and treat your symptoms correctly.
Stay confident in yourself that you are doing everything well to take care of your baby.
What should you do if you have Anxiety when you are Pregnant?
Talk to your doctor if you think you feel you have anxiety or any of the following symptoms
- For more than 2 weeks, feeling anxious most of the time.
- Feeling physically ill due to anxiety. This may include increased heartbeat, fast breathing, unusual sweating, feeling sick, feeling tired.
- You have had panic attacks related to any issue which might now be related to your pregnancy.
- Having similar unpleasant thoughts and unable to control them.
- You find yourself doing same things to make you feel better.
- You are afraid of giving birth that you don’t want to go through that process.
- You are afraid of blood tests that you think of avoiding them.
Inform your doctor if you have experienced anxiety before. If you speak up about your mental health to your doctor they will be able to help you and support you better. Do not feel the fear of being judged, the doctor wont judge or criticize you. They already know this happens to many woman and you providing them with correct details will help in finding the right treatment for you.
If you think you cannot talk about it, write it down what you feel, and during the appointment can show that to your doctor.
Handling Pregnant Anxiety in a Pandemic
These are unusual times and everyone is affected with this difficult situation created by the COVID-19. And it is definitely hard being pregnant during a pandemic.
For most of us our routines are changing, we are not going out, we are working from home, some have lost their jobs. We are performing multiple roles which were distributed to schools, childcare. But this is the new normal we all have to ultimately adapt to.
For a pregnant woman, the times which were supposed to be joyful and happy have become the cause of fear, uncertainty and stress.
How Can You Calm Your Nerves?
Talk to your doctor
The easiest way to calm your nerves is to find answers to your questions. Getting answers to your questions related to the covid-19 situation which may affect you and your child, being prepared can definitely help in calming yourself.
If you are too anxious talk to your doctor about it. He/she can give you more information related to how things are around you and this may help calm down your fears.
Know the facts
During pregnancy woman’s body sees a lot of changes and the risk of getting illness such as flu is also high. Although, there aren’t enough evidences to suggest pregnant woman being at higher risk of developing severe symptoms of coronavirus.
We also know, so far, that the covid-19 infection doesn’t transmit to the unborn baby from its mother.
Limit the information inflow
Be wise about what you watch and consume from the news. Being informed is good but do not overconsume the news. Avoid watching news that exaggerates the situation by using provocative words.
Preparing for a hospital birth
During the pandemic, lot of changes have happened. Talk to your healthcare providers/hospital about the same. For example, find out about how any visitors are allowed now.
Pack extra phone/charger/battery with you.
Find out fun ways to share the news with your family and friends about your child birth. Use the technology. One of the biggest ways to prevent postpartum anxiety and depression is by getting supported from your loved ones.
Rethink and reframe your birthing plan. But focus on the positive side of it rather than thinking of the negatives and all the issues which can happened. Think of positive aspects like less visitors which would mean better time spend between you and your partner.
Use trustworthy Pregnancy resource
Birth-classes and prenatal classes are great stress busters. However, these classes have been cancelled during the pandemic. Few hospital however, have moved to taking online classes. Take a birth or prenatal class to help you gain some good information, you get to connect with other pregnant women. This will help you focus more on joys of welcoming your newborn.
Try doing things which help you stay connected with people. Speak to friends over phone, use the technology to make video calls with relatives and loved ones.
Battle your mind
We cannot control the COVID-19 situation but what we can control are our thoughts. A very good way of doing this is by identify when you are worrying and flip it around and find a gratitude situation for yourself. It may sound tough but it gets easier when you do it.
Be Gentle to yourself
It is ok if you take time to adjust to the new routine and it is ok to feel so many emotions. It is fine if you don’t have it all sorted and together. Take it slow and don’t worry.
Have a designated time for “no covid-19 conversation” and ask your family to help you support in taking this mental break.
Connect with family and friends who offer support and not sensationalize news.
To each of you who is pregnant at this difficult time. Or if you are someone who is beginning her pregnancy, or are mid-way or about to give birth or have a new born with you. I want to say this to you
I know this is a difficult time but know that we see you like the most bravest to be taking care of yourself and your unborn child the best possible way.
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