Stress and anxiety are a part of life, especially when you are expecting a new baby.
But throw in the COVID-19 pandemic, and the thought of giving birth may cause expectant mothers to feel even more fearful. That’s why Ashwin Mehta, MD, medical director of Integrative Medicine for Memorial Healthcare System, developed the two “P’s” strategy that can help moms-to-be cope with anxiety during pregnancy.
Datasource: Coping w/stress during pregnancy
Pregnancy is a P Word
Stress often times comes from this sense that we have very little control of things going on around us. And while eliminating stress and anxiety completely while pregnant is an unreasonable goal or expectation, what women can do is take proactive and preventive steps they can control.
According to Dr. Mehta, Pregnancy is a “P” word. So let’s break down these useful tips in the following two categories that start with the letter p:
- Proactive Preparation
- Preventive Practices
Dr. Mehta recommends that moms-to-be ask themselves the following proactive preparation questions to help their families prepare for a new baby.
- Do you have your overnight bag ready for the hospital?
- This is a simple thing you can do ahead of time to help you eliminate stress.
- Creating an overnight bag if you are close to term is a number one practice to do today.
- Is your home ready for a new baby?
- Now that you are home and sheltering in place, put some thought into your home environment.
- Are there things you can do at home to create a more healthy and harmonious environment for your newborn?
- Just putting some thought and energy into that helps us reduce stress.
Preventive practices are things expectant mothers can do daily to take care of themselves and their babies. Here are Dr. Mehta’s top suggestions:
- Prenatal yoga. This type of class is great for a pregnant woman’s body and mind, and Dr. Mehta recommends prenatal Yoga with Adrienne and a 30-minute flow Yoga with Andrea on YouTube.
- Take a prenatal vitamin
- Mindfulness or meditation practices. Apps like Calm, Deepak Chopra, or Headspace are a great place to start and many mindfulness teachers are offering free resources right now on their website.
- Journal writing
- Gratitude practice
All of these things are within the category of preventive practices. So if we take some time to cultivate and establish these routines, things like journal writing, a gratitude practice, devotional readings, just incorporating these into our day life, it really helps to anchor us and ground us at a time when things really are chaotic out there.
Get in the Know
In addition to the two P’s, Dr. Mehta also recommends moms-to-be connect virtually. There are online support groups at all different stages of pregnancy, and reaching out to people using telehealth and sharing concerns and anxieties helps to qualm nervousness.
Things to Ask Your Obstetrics Care Team
He also says calling your obstetrics care team ahead of time is very important. Make sure you’re aware of the rules during the pandemic. A lot of policies have changed in the hospitals, so you may consider asking your care team the following questions:
- Is your significant other allowed with you while delivering?
- Who can visit after you deliver?
- Do I have to wear PPE during appointments and delivery?
- Are there physical distancing practices in place at the hospital?
While the thought of giving birth in today’s world might feel unsettling, now’s the time to start to identify what practices works for you. What helps you achieve space and contentment during chaotic times? Once you find this answer, not only will it help with giving birth during the pandemic, but will also help you cope also with the stress of having a new baby.
Classes and Safety Resources
In order to keep you safe, please click on the following links to learn about our new childbirth safety measures and how to sign-up for our free, online baby classes.