Pregnancy, preparing for and birthing bring so many challenges for women and never more so than during this Coronavirus. With this in mind, I’ve put together some tips and information to help you along the way!
The world is still turning. Celebrate your pregnancy and upcoming birth – bringing new life into the world is one of the most incredible things you’ll ever do.
- Find your tribe – being part of a supportive network is so valuable during pregnancy and during life as a parent. Stay connected with trusted friends and family and use local community forums, like ‘Prana Mamas – in Pregnancy & New Motherhood’ to meet other like-minded mums-to-be and new mums.
- Learn and use breathing and mindfulness techniques to help you stay calm and maintain a positive mindset. If there’s one technique you practise make it ‘Calm Breathing’ where you breathe in through the nose for a count of 2-3 and out of the nose or mouth for a count of 4-6. Extending the exhale will signal to your body that you are safe and all is well. This is also a great technique to use during labour too.
- Stay active and take part in pregnancy-specific classes, which will support the changes taking place in your body, prepare you for birthing and to take care for your newborn too. Ensure that those classes are run by a qualified instructor. There are a number of great local teachers who have taken their classes online. Ourr Pregnancy Yoga classes are currently running online click here for days and times and get in touch if you'd like to book in. They're suitable for Classes are suitable for pregnant women from 12-14 weeks until full term and complete beginners or those who have practised yoga for years are most welcome.
- Eat well and nourish yourself and your baby with a good balanced diet. This will improve your mood, boost your energy levels and ensure that you and your baby are getting the nourishment you need to maintain a strong immune system and good health. Click here Nutrition Tips for Pregnancy and New Motherhood.
- Choose your news sources carefully. Opt for reliable sources of news which are evidence based and relevant. I’ve added some links below.
- Curate your ‘feed’ and conversations so that you’re focused on positive pregnancy and birth stories and avoid stories that make you feel scared, sad and or angry (particularly TV programmes that dramatize birth). Calm, beautiful births are boring are rarely discussed or mentioned!
- Follow official guidance on social distancing, health and hygiene.
- Continue to attend your pre and postnatal check-ups, as long as you are well.
- If you’re displaying Coronavirus symptoms contact NHS 111 and your midwife.
- The most recent reports in relation to Covid-19 and pregnancy are reassuring. They state, pregnant women are not more affected than the general population by this virus and the majority of cases will experience mild to moderate flu like symptoms.
PREPARING FOR BIRTH
- Prepare for a positive birth for you and your baby by learning about birth. Watch videos, read books, attend classes – learn, learn, learn.
- Practice relaxation and learn some positive affirmations to help keep your mindset strong.
- Think about having a 'back-up' birth partner in case your birth partner becomes unwell. Ask a trusted parent, sibling, friend or a Doula (only one of which will be allowed to attend).
- Talk to your midwife about your birthing options and prepare accordingly. Homebirths may not always be possible for the time being.
- According to the Royal College of Midwives, birth partners are encouraged to be with you during labour. However, your birth partner may only be allowed to join you during established labour, which is when your cervix is over 4cm dilated. If you are admitted to hospital before labour is established and your birth partner is asked to wait outside until such time, then there are lots of things you can do to support yourself (see below).
ON YOUR BIRTHING DAY
Oxytocin is the ‘love and feel good’ hormone. When Oxytocin is flowing freely we feel calm, loved and safe and in the best place physically, mentally and emotionally to go with the flow of and birth our baby(ies), whether you're birthing at home, being induced or have elected for a c-section.
When it comes to natural birthing oxytocin is what makes the cervix dilate and when we feel relaxed, loved and supported this hormone flows in abundance. There are lots of things you can do to help stimulate the flow of oxytocin whether your partner is with you and even if you find yourself navigating labour independently at times.
- Stay calm and comfortable and use breathing and movement to help you to do so.
- Breathing will help your body and in particular, your uterus and baby, stay oxygenated and relaxed.
- Stay as upright and mobile as you can and move around to help baby descend into the pelvis, this in turn will signal to your body that birth is happening. Your baby will twist and turn into position and your moving around will help them to do so.
- Stay in contact with your birth partner. If you can, use FaceTime or WhatsApp to video call with your birth partner or someone else you trust and love to maintain the connection between you both as much as possible.
- Dim the lights – lower the lighting, use fairy lights, battery powered tea lights and even an eye mask to block out any unnecessary bright lights.
- Playlist – prepare a playlist of ‘feel good’ tunes. Anything that makes you feel positive and happy, yet calm. Remember to have this downloaded to your phone and have a phone charger and headphones to hand. You can also pre-record some affirmations to play too.
- Photographs – gather and look at photos that make you feel good. Wedding photos, pictures of your other children, or pets, holiday snaps are all ideal.
- Essential oils – ‘Clary sage’ is known for its calming effects and is a good one to use during birthing. Pop a couple of drops onto a face cloth or hanky and have a sniff every now and again.
- Be prepared that your midwife or consultant will be wearing PPE, yet remember that they are smiling underneath and want you to support you as best they can to ensure that you and your baby have the best birthing experience possible.
WHEN YOUR BABY IS BORN...
- Make sure you and your birth partner have plenty of skin-to-skin contact with baby and if your birth partner is asked to leave (check this with your midwife), then they can go home, rest and prepare for you and your baby’s homecoming.
- If you choose to breastfeed then your midwife will support you in establishing breastfeeding before you go home.
We hope you've found this to be a useful source of information and support. I wish you a happy and healthy pregnancy and a smooth birth when your birthing day arrives! Lis Xx
FB GROUP FOR COMMUNITY & SUPPORT / PREGNANCY YOGA ONLINE
FB Group for Prana Mamas in Pregnancy & New Motherhood We need community now more than ever! If you are or you know anyone who is pregnant, has a new baby or is a mum who would benefit from some calm and connection as well as yoga, mindfulness, self-care tips, discussion and more then please share this great FB Group with them.
The Royal College of Midwives is a great place to go for information https://www.rcm.org.uk/coronavirus-qa/
Other local businesses that can offer you online support and information during this time: