The world as we know it is undergoing a lot of change and so are you, mama. If you are expecting, it is likely that you are experiencing some extra emotions as you prepare to welcome your new baby. While COVID-19 data is still being processed and some of your questions are still left unanswered, healthcare professionals are recommending that pregnant women take extra precautions to stay safe.
You may be asking yourself how will my birth experience change? Which baby items will be essential to have? How can I manage my stress and anxiety during such an unsettling time? As we all continue to navigate through this ever-changing situation, what we do know is that we are all in this together, and without a doubt, we will get through it. Community is important now more than ever, and we are here for you – let’s stick together.
We have rounded up some helpful resources and tips to guide you as you prepare to meet your little one.
Embrace What is in Your Control
While some things may be out of your control, your energy and mindset can be shifted towards the things that you do have control of so that you can stay positive.
If you are hunkered down at home, now may be a good time to work on the nursery, a guest room, or anything else around the house that you planned to get done before your baby’s arrival. This is a great opportunity to get organized and spend some quality time with your partner, in the safety of your cozy home. Trying to stay active? Setting up an area for workouts, yoga, meditation, or a home gym can help you to stay on track with exercising, before and after your bundle of joy arrives.
Due to the economic shift that the pandemic has triggered, many people around the world are experiencing changes in their employment status and finances. One way to gain better control of your funds is to build a baby budget. Creating a budget can be a helpful way to prepare for new expenses and prioritize new goals. This is also a good opportunity to set up any accounts that you planned to create for the baby’s college fund since the market is low.
Ordering the Essentials
Perhaps your baby shower is being postponed or you just want to make sure that you have the necessities that you will need. Create a list of your holy-grail products and essentials (for you and baby) so that you have them ready. Don’t forget to order your breastfeeding supplies like breastmilk storage bags, bras, and of course your breast pump, which is covered by insurance.
Managing Stress and Anxiety
Whether it’s from catching up on the latest news or hearing from a concerned family member, it’s normal to feel worried or overwhelmed with emotions. Here are some simple tips on how to manage those uneasy feelings.
Yoga is an excellent way to relax so that you can feel calm and centered, even when the world around you may seem chaotic. It is also a great way to stay fit and prepare your body for childbirth. Not only does yoga help to reduce stress, but some of the other health benefits include improved sleep, decreased lower back pain, reduced nausea and headaches. We found a 20-minute prenatal calming yoga routine that you can do right from home. If you prefer a live studio experience, there are some sites that offer online yoga classes with instructors such as, Flow Yoga or the Peloton App, which is currently offering a 90-day free trial.
Meditation & Breathing Practice
Like prenatal yoga, there are many health benefits to meditation and breathing exercises. This is another great way to embrace mindfulness and help you feel as cool as a cucumber. Click here for a 10-minute meditation and deep breathing practice for expecting parents.
Create a Playlist
Music is good for the soul! It can be soothing, therapeutic, improve blood flow, and lower your stress-related hormones. You can practically create a playlist for anything these days, whether it be spiritual, motivational for your workouts, or even a birth playlist to get you through those contractions. Mama, sometimes all you can do is dance. Have fun with it and let those endorphins roll!
- Here comes the Sun – The Beatles
- Brave – Sara Bareilles
- Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley
- Just Breathe – Pearl Jam
- You Can Do It – Ice Cube/Mack 10
- Run the World – Beyoncé
- Push It – Salt and Peppa
Take a Walk or Spend Time Outdoors
Staying home doesn’t necessarily have to mean staying inside. Spring is here, and it’s time to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. Vitamin D has many benefits, and the good news is that you can get a little extra from the sun – just don’t forget to wear your sunscreen. Remember that it’s not always safe to walk too far from home while pregnant, so grab your partner to see if they want to join you for a healthy stroll.
Classes and Doctors’ Appointments
It is likely that your upcoming childbirth, infant care, or breastfeeding classes may have been canceled or that your in-house OB office visits are now conducted via telehealth phone calls. I assure you that your health care providers are doing everything they can to create a game plan too, so it’s important to work together. Explore and keep track of what prescriptions you may need in the coming weeks, such as a script for prenatal vitamins or your breast pump. I also recommend staying in touch with your providers on any upcoming changes or policies that they foresee impacting your situation or birth plan.
Another good idea is to keep a journal in case you experience any changes to your health and to document your Q&A’s in between appointments. After all, you do have a lot on your mind, so jotting it all down may be a helpful way to stay organized. Depending on your health, your providers may also suggest using a scale to document your weight or ordering some things like a home blood pressure monitor or urine protein testing strips that you can use from home. But, always follow the guidance of your caregiver as it relates to your health and the health of your baby.
While in-person hospital tours and classes may not be an option right now, here are some alternatives for education and support.
Online Childbirth Classes
- Becoming Mama by Motherly (free)
- Labor Basics by Lamaze International (free)
- Birthing Classes Video Series (5hrs 45mins in length) by Tucson Medical Center (free)
- Acelleron’s Breastfeeding – Before Birth & After Online Education Class (free) – Use PROMO code gD2gYN to redeem your free class.
- Pacify – Unlimited video calls with maternal and pediatric experts.
- LactMed App – If you do get sick, this database provides safety information on medications and breastfeeding.
Support and Community
Exploring online support groups and community forums is another alternative to interact with expectant moms or new parents, especially during times where we may feel isolated. You may be able to find conversations that relate to some of the same things that you are experiencing. Many of these groups can be found online or through social media platforms.
- What to Expect Community Covid-19 Support Group
- La Leche League Breastfeeding Support Facebook Group
- The Bump – Support Groups and Message Boards
- Pregnancy Corner – Facebook Community
- Postpartum Online Support Meetings
Resources and Additional Education
Knowledge is power, and we want to help you to stay informed and safe. Here are some supporting articles and resources to safely guide you through this time.
- The CDC
- CDC’s Guidelines for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
- The World Health Organization’s Advice for the Public
- Guidance from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
- The Battle Kit: COVID-19 At Home Resources for Care and Calm
- What Coronavirus Means for Pregnancy and Other Things New and Expecting Parents Should Know(ProPublica)
- What the Coronavirus Pandemic Means for People Giving Birth (Vox)
- What Parents Need to Know (NYTimes, currently free with email account)
- American Academy of Pediatrics’ Recommendations for Well Baby/Child and Sick Visits
- Every Question About Grocery Shopping During the Coronavirus Pandemic, Answered (Epicurious)
- Coronavirus News and Resources for Expecting and New Parents (Babylist)
- Budgeting for New Parents: How to Build a Baby Budget (Nerd Wallet)
- Is Listening to Music Good For Your Health? (TIME)
Lastly, it is so important to remember that although you may be facing some challenging times, where there is life, there is hope. Bringing your baby into the world is going to be one of the most incredible days of your life. Take care of yourself. Take things day-by-day and do what is best for you and your family. While your birth experience and the days soon after may look a little different than you expected, these moments will still be just as monumental. Remember that the goal is for you and your baby to remain healthy and safe. You are strong, you are resilient, and you can do this.
Written by Kristen Quinn, mama and Certified Lactation Counselor at Acelleron.