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It’s a scary time to be expecting a baby. Being pregnant during a pandemic is probably something that you never imaged would happen to you!
Yet… here you are.
This is your new reality, dear mama, and it’s not a fun one. But, please remember…YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
I’ve talked with pregnant mamas who feel isolated, afraid, and out of control.
…and for good reason!
Know that your concerns about COVID-19 are valid. Your disappointment is real.
Canceling baby showers, childbirth classes and in-person doula support is not a fun way to begin your journey into motherhood!
Nor are the thoughts of laboring alone, getting sick or your baby getting sick easy to deal with.
It’s okay to admit that you are disappointed or afraid.
It really is!
But… DON’T get stuck there.
Fear and sadness will only paralyze you.
*Disclaimer – The information in the post is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be medical advice. Please make sure that you talk with your doctor or midwife if you have any questions or concerns during your pregnancy!
Reach out for help!
Instead of giving in to your anxiety or sadness, reach out for help.
Voice your concerns to someone who can validate your feelings, but encourage you to move ahead with your birth and postpartum planning!
When we acknowledge our fears and negative feelings, they begin to lose their power over us. That’s a great place to start!
In this post…
- I am going to help you to work through some of your disappointments, fears and anxieties by focusing on what you CAN control, not what you CAN’T.
- You will get the BEST up-to-date, evidence-based, accurate information about COVID-19 and pregnancy.
- I am also going to help you to build a support team of family, friends and childbirth professionals who can help you to get through this challenging time.
Although you may need to change your birth and postpartum plans, please know that you are NOT alone!
You can take comfort in knowing that childbirth professionals all over the world are quickly adapting and creating online solutions to reach out to pregnant and birthing women.
Now, more than ever, pregnant mamas really need the emotional and educational support that doulas and childbirth professionals can offer!
Just because you may not be able to have in-person doula support, does NOT mean that you won’t still benefit from the reassuring, non-judgmental emotional and educational support of a childbirth professional!
Since hospital policies and health care recommendations are rapidly changing, doulas are staying on top of all those changes and policies.
They will help you to navigate your local health care system and keep you informed on your choices as things evolve.
In addition to online childbirth classes and online breastfeeding classes, many doulas, childbirth educators and lactation professionals are now offering one-on-one support via video-calling, virtual meetings and phone counseling.
For example, this doula company (that I highly recommend) offers virtual services for birth, postpartum and lactation support.
You can also find a virtual birth doula HERE.
There may also be more and more birth doulas offering free virtual support to needy mothers and I’ll send out that information to my email list as I become aware of it.
FREE Online Postpartum Doula Support
If you are unable to hire doula support, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with your questions and concerns too.
I, personally, answer all my emails and will do my best to respond quickly!
If I am unable to answer your questions, I can direct you to the best resources for you!
My direct email: Karen@healthymamahacks.net
You can also sign up below for my free weekly email updates and FREE online doula support tips.
Search this blog for all my favorite doula tips and free resources for pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum and newborn care.
Related: Natural Pregnancy Tips and Hacks
10 Tips for Being Pregnant During a Pandemic
As a doula, I have had lots of experience and training helping new parents navigate pregnancy, childbirth and the 4th trimester.
But, I’ll have to be honest… I have no experience supporting new families during a pandemic. This is totally new territory for all of us!
However, I have been doing a lot of researching and brainstorming about ways that I can be helpful to you during this difficult time.
After reading this post, feel free to reach out to me with your questions and concerns.
Maybe you just need to talk with someone who understands how you feel!
If that’s the case, you can find my contact information on my About Me page. You are NOT ALONE… reach out if you feel alone!
In the meantime, here are some tips that I hope will be helpful for you…
1. Acknowledge your concerns… then let go!
It’s okay to be afraid or disappointed.
DON’T bottle up those feelings!
It’s important for you and your baby that you learn to manage your anxiety and stress.
Talk to your partner, friends, family, counselor, pastor and/or care provider.
In addition to talking, take time to pray, meditate, practice relaxation breathing, journal and exercise.
Speak truth to yourself!
If you don’t know what’s true, ask your friends and family members to help you brainstorm true statements that you can use to combat the lies that you might be believing.
For example, instead of believing the lies, “I can’t do this,” or “I’m alone.” Tell yourself that you are strong and you will get through this okay.. or… remind yourself of good friends who are there for you!
Write down WHAT IS TRUE in a journal or on sticky notes and read it often.
These are all helpful ways to manage your stress and let go of it!
2. Get the facts!
Although there is not much research yet concerning pregnancy, birth outcomes and coronavirus, the preliminary research is positive. (source)
Because of this, childbirth researchers and birth workers are optimistic.
However, there is a lot of misinformation and fake news circulating around the internet concerning COVID-19.
Choose reliable sources and websites. Be wary of social media posts.
Ask your doctor for up-to-date, evidence-based information concerning coronavirus and pregnancy.
Speaking of reliable sources, here are my top picks for the most current, accurate and evidence-based information for pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and newborn care during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Evidence-Based Birth (EBB) is a WONDERFUL resource for expectant parents! They offer totally reliable and trustworthy information.
I recommend bookmarking their website, subscribing to their updates and following their blog… especially now.
They are closely monitoring the situation and provide their readers with regular updates from the CDC, WHO and other reputable organizations.
If you subscribe to EBB, you will receive all the latest research and accurate updates regarding pregnancy, birth and COVID-19.
In fact, EBB just hosted a live webinar for all birthing parents and childbirth professionals on March 23, 2020. You can view that pre-recorded Facebook Live stream here…
Evidence Based Birth is now offering a FREE Crash Course for Birthing during the COVID-19 Pandemic!
This CDC page is another valuable and accurate resource for you as it directly addresses questions about pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Visit this page often to see their current updates and recommendations for pregnancy and breastfeeding.
This Q&A resource page answers 24 of the most common questions that expectant parents are asking!
I recommend reading these questions before talking with your doctor. Check back often for regular updates as new information is released.
3. Make a list of questions for your doctor or midwife
Keep a running list to jot down your questions and concerns that you have for your doctor or midwife.
You may find some answers in this Q & A article about being pregnant during a pandemic, but you will probably think of other things that you’ll want to discuss with your care provider as well.
It’s important to have a list, so you don’t forget!
Discussing these things with your midwife or doctor will give you more peace of mind.
4. Stay Connected to Friends and Family!
Even though you may be physically cut off from your friends and family members, don’t let that stop you from staying connected!
Just because you are pregnant during a pandemic, does not mean that you have to isolate yourself from the ones who love you!
Frequent phone calls, video calls, online meetings and even outside walks with friends will help you process your thoughts and not feel so isolated.
5. Get Outside!
Go for walks and sit outside in the sunshine.
Even if you are living in a cooler climate, bundle up and try to get out everyday!
Fresh air and sunshine have been helping people for centuries to deal with mood disorders and health issues.
Remember to practice social distancing while outside to stay safe, but by all means… get outside!
When you are outside, you can also go for walks with friends or enjoy fun conversation while maintaining a safe distance.
6. Create a flexible birth plan
If you are birthing in a hospital or birthing center, know that each hospital has its own policies and protocols during this pandemic.
… and those are constantly changing or updating.
Be sure and talk with your provider about your birth wishes during your prenatal appointments and expect that you will need to be more flexible with appointments and birth policies than normal.
That being said, don’t hesitate to advocate for your wishes if you feel strongly about them. You may also be re-thinking your decision for a hospital birth at this time. Find out if that is a good decision for you in this post.
A birth doula (even if virtual) can help you understand your options, create a plan, advocate for you and help you navigate the ever-changing health care system.
7. Create a postpartum plan
Don’t forget to have a postpartum plan.
Now… more than ever… you NEED to plan ahead for the days and weeks after your baby arrives!
You can print out a free postpartum plan template HERE.
Many women fail to prepare for postpartum recovery and find themselves “winging it” without much help or sleep during the newborn season.
Depending on travel bans and your family’s circumstances, you may not be able to have the extra help that you would normally have during your postpartum recovery.
But that doesn’t mean that you cannot plan ahead and have postpartum help! You will just need to adjust and adapt a bit.
For example, check out this post Postpartum in a Pandemic to learn some practical planning tips for getting ready for your 4th trimester.
Talk to your partner about your options for postpartum help:
- Do you want to risk having extra help?
- Maybe your postpartum helper can self-quarantine 14 days before your due date.
- Perhaps they can live with you instead of traveling back and forth to their home.
- What ideas from this post do we want to add to our postpartum plan?
8. Hire a birth doula
Although many hospitals are now restricting doulas, they are a vital member of your birthing team!
Not only will you benefit from their educational and emotional support during this difficult time, but they can be a HUGE relief to your stressed-out nurses as well!
Even if your hospital insists that your doula cannot physically attend the labor or birth, many doulas are offering virtual support via video calls or online meetings!
Many birth and postpartum doulas are also offering virtual prenatal and postnatal support. Take advantage of their help!
When you hire a doula, they will answer your questions, address your concerns and give you plenty of TLC and affirmation before, during and after labor!
9. Hire a Postpartum Doula
It’s understandable if you don’t want someone coming into your home during this crisis, but consider lining up some virtual help.
Postpartum doulas can offer breastfeeding support, meal support and other helpful support tasks such as dog-walking, grocery shopping, meal delivery and running errands for you!
You can video call your postpartum doula with any questions about your recovery, breastfeeding or newborn care questions.
Even if a postpartum doula cannot physically visit your home, you will appreciate her non-judgmental, evidence-based emotional and educational support!
Just knowing you have someone to call daily with questions and concerns can make all the difference during this uncertain time!
10. Take Care of Yourself!
Last but not least…. take care of your health!
Do EVERYTHING that you can think of to stay healthy during pregnancy…
- social distancing
- eat healthy
- hand washing
- don’t touch your face
- get extra sleep
- take your prenatal vitamins
- get exercise
- enjoy fresh air and sunshine
- drink lots of water
How is being pregnant during a pandemic affecting you?
- Is being pregnant during a pandemic causing you anxiety or stress?
- What has been helpful for you during this time?
- What ideas or encouragement can you share with other expectant mothers?