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Pregnant during the COVID-19 crisis? Here’s how to take care of mental health

Let’s learn to cope with our new reality of being in this virtual life that includes virtual work, virtual consultations, virtual exercise lesson and virtual family and friend meets.

By: Parenting Desk | New Delhi |
April 20, 2020 6:30:19 pm
pregnancy and mental health, pregnancy in COVID-19 crisis, mental health, parenting, indian express, indian express news Scientifically, meditation and yoga do help; make it your early morning schedule. (Source: Getty/Thinkstock)

By Dr Nupur Gupta

Worried? Let’s work on a ‘new you’ for your ‘new baby’. It can definitely happen with a good mental health hygiene, resulting in a happier and healthier mother and baby.

The current ongoing COVID 19 pandemic has changed the way we, as gynecologists, are managing antenatal care during pregnancy — through online video consultations limiting exposure to the outside world. Our guidelines have been changing based on the evolving research. You too will adapt soon. Have faith.

According to CDC (Centre for Disease Control), pregnant women seem to have the same risk of contracting COVID 19 as any adult, so you are advised to follow the same protective measures. Get educated, engaged and empowered.

Pregnancy brings an unforgettable experience in life, but also some physical discomfort, weight gain, tiredness, fear of pain and labour. Nowadays, it is a visit to hospital for immunisation, consultation and tests. The feeling is like a caged bird, making us uncomfortable and restless. We can understand your experience of the current anxiety and confusion.

ALSO READ | Covid-19 and pregnancy: What expectant mothers need to know

Not only pregnancy, this is a challenging time also for those who have no health issues.

Sharing tips to ward off stress, the most important is to accept the change. Anger, frustration and anxiety increase in a flight or fight mode.

– Have a regular routine, so it becomes a part of normalcy.

– Listen, read or watch news only twice a day.

– Get facts from trusted sources.

– Scientifically, meditation and yoga do help; make it your early morning schedule. They improve brain blood flow, increase production of positive hormones (endorphins) and decrease oxidative stress.

– Join online antenatal classes.

– Connect with one family member or a friend daily (phone call, video call, or email).

– Healthy well-balanced diet and being physically active should be your aim.

– Have a good night sleep (good sleep hygiene).

– Do an online course, rediscover your hobby, acquire a new skill.

– Ask for practical help if needed.

– Read books on motherhood.

– Connect with your unborn baby.

– Convert your fear into courage, poison into medicine and unlock your compassion and wisdom to help prevent the effects of stress on your immunity.

pregnancy and mental health, pregnancy in COVID-19 crisis, mental health, parenting, indian express, indian express news It is normal to feel sad, stressed, scared during such a crisis. (Source: Getty/Thinkstock)

– Relaxation and mindfulness will help

– it’s a good time to learn new technology, as an investment for your future.

– Make sure you have enough medicine for next 3 to 4 weeks and take it regularly.

– Consuming alcohol or smoking tobacco is not the answer.

– If you still feel anxious, confused or depressed, consider taking a session with a psychologist online.

– Remember, it is a physical lockdown for everyone, not a lockdown of your mind and soul, it is not a lockdown of help, hope and kindness.

– You can also help others and empower those around you.

– Another good news is that virus has not been seen to cross the placenta and affect the baby (no transplacental infection or vertical transmission has been reported till date).

ALSO READ | Can a mother with COVID-19 infection breastfeed her baby?

– Post delivery you can look for online classes for newborn care, lactation, counselling, and new mom support groups.

General Tips

– Cancel all your non-essential visits.

– Practice physical distancing.

– Understand the importance of hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene.

– Contact your doctor if you develop symptoms of fever, cough and breathing difficulty.

– Post-delivery, continue to take tele-medicine services.

Let’s learn to cope with our new reality of being in this virtual life that includes virtual work, virtual consultations, virtual exercise lesson and virtual family and friend meets. It is normal to feel sad, stressed, scared during such a crisis. To conclude, be in touch your obstetrician and ask for help when needed. Be in touch with accurate and up to date information.

(Dr Gupta is the Director, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram)

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