Being pregnant during the lockdown can be scary. With the inability to move around freely, antenatal anxiety is growing.
Since the onset of the social distancing and self-isolation routine, coronavirus anxiety has become an issue.
The need to stay home and stay safe with our loved ones has suddenly become more important than anything else.
For pregnant women, this means a lot of things. Skipping antenatal visits. Not being able to go baby shopping.
And exercise – you most likely can’t take brisk long walks as before.
Now, you’re probably feeling anxious. Worried. And almost going out of your mind from sitting at home all day.
I know the feeling.
Roughly 5 months ago, I held my handsome little man in my eager arms.
Despite how beautiful my pregnancy was, I’d have been worried. Just as you probably are.
So, I decided to put together 7 things that worked for me back then. Which could help you overcome pregnancy anxiety during the lockdown.
From dancing to journaling, there are little ideas on how to calm anxiety while pregnant.
And staying healthy and happy for the little one in your womb.
Is it Okay to Be Anxious while Pregnant during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
The obvious answer is YES.
Are you pregnant during coronavirus? It’s totally okay if you feel scared and worried. Most of us are.
I look at my 5-month old. And I wonder when things will return to normal. (If there’ll ever be a normal).
We live in a quiet, peaceful environment. But that doesn’t stop us from missing everybody else.
This social isolation is almost maddening. But we must do what we must.
Anxiety during pregnancy is common. And it’s not inevitable during the lockdown.
So, if you’re pregnant and anxious, it’s okay. You may be worried about your diet being different from what you planned. Or you might even be concerned that you aren’t as active as you hoped you’d be.
But with the turn of events, there’s just very little you can do. Rather than worry your head about all that isn’t right, think about your unborn child.
Think about all the beautiful memories you can’t wait to share with him. Or her.
Nonetheless, the fact that it’s okay to be anxious while pregnant doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you. Or your little one.
Anxiety comes with its own bad guys. And you need to know what they are. So, you can face them head-on.
What things can trigger anxiety during the lockdown? And how can you beware of them?
We’ll look at them in the next subheading.
What are the Causes of Anxiety During the Lockdown?
Before the sad events of 2020 began to change our lives, anxiety in pregnancy wasn’t new.
Many health practitioners are familiar with soon-to-be mothers feeling tensed up. And filled with fear or doubts.
In fact, such anxious feelings were known to result in hypertension in pregnancy. And such pregnancy-induced hypertension can be life-threatening. To the mother. And her baby.
I recall an experience I had during my pregnancy in 2019. About a month before my due date, I went for my usual antenatal visits.
While speaking with the doctor, a nurse suddenly rushed in. I had been concerned that my baby was hiccupping in the womb. (I’ll write another post on babies and hiccups in the womb.)
Since it wasn’t something that many people talked about, I thought it was strange. So, I needed my consultant to reassure me.
Back to the nurse. As she entered, she had a look of worry on her face. And it was about a woman who had pregnancy-induced hypertension.
She and the doctor resolved to put the pregnant woman on admission. Immediately. For delivery via cesarean section.
If they didn’t move fast, they could lose both the mother and her baby.
As I watched and listened, I shivered in my chair. And wondered why her blood pressure was out of shape. Money issues? Poor diet? Genes? Irregular intake of pregnancy vitamins?
Well, I don’t know how the story ended. But I’d love to believe that both mother and child are healthy. And happy.
The times are different now. Unfortunately, worse.
· Following the News on COVID-19 Religiously
It’s good to follow the news. It’s even better to stay informed.
But there are many downsides to following COVID-19 news while you’re pregnant. One of them is the fact that such reports are largely depressing.
For me, I was sad to see that Nigeria as at Monday has about 1,273 confirmed cases. While 239 have recovered, 40 have died.
What’s even more distressing is knowing that people are still dying. Sadly, the number of coronavirus deaths around the world has exceeded 207,000.
About 870,000 people worldwide have recovered from this infection. Frightening. As compared to the roughly 3 million globally confirmed cases.
I just gave you the figures. From Google.
How does it make you feel?
Yes. I feel the same way.
But imagine if you were tracking these figures on the news every day.
Tuning in to BBC. Or CNN. To get the latest. Or monitoring the NCDC reports on Twitter.
Following these reports daily would only hurt you. And add to your stress levels.
Worrying about the numbers isn’t healthy for you or your baby.
Because it’ll raise your cortisol levels. And when that hormone is out of shape, many other things will suffer.
Your sleep. Your peace of mind. Even your weight.
And when you’re out of shape, your baby may be endangered. You could be hurting your little one without knowing.
This isn’t what you want. You need to fire out a way to manage anxiety during pregnancy.
· Unguided Social Media Engagements
Apart from monitoring coronavirus news too closely, excessively engaging on social media can go the wrong way.
We find that a lot of people now spend most of their time on the Internet. And this results in the spread of fake news. Or negative reports. At other times, you find exaggerated information.
Receiving and ‘swallowing’ such reports hook, line, and sinker can make you anxious.
No questions, you should connect with your loved ones. You should also check on friends and colleagues.
But it’s even more important that you mind what you watch, read or listen to. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, be mindful of the conversations you have. And the discussions you engage in.
We’re in sensitive times right now. And inasmuch as some people are cautious, we have others who only care about unleashing harmful jokes or gist.
For the sake of your baby, please stay clear of hurtful remarks or insensitive discussions. Save yourself the headache of having to deal with baseless and unhealthy talks.
· Reduced or no Visits to the Clinic for Prenatal Checks
Pregnant women in most parts of the world have been encouraged to stay home.
What this means is that every pregnant woman during the lockdown would be sitting at home. And imagining what her baby looks like.
It’s a lot to go through. Seriously. I remember when I was 6 months into my pregnancy last year. I couldn’t wait to do the next ultrasound scan. I was always eager to see what my baby looked like.
Well, I’m sorry you have to deal with something different. But the beauty of reduces prenatal checks is that you can keep yourself and your baby safe.
Staying home and well is preferable to going out and contracting the virus unknowingly.
It’s for your safety. And your baby.
But if there’s a need to visit the clinic, speak with your consultant or doctor.
For instance, I know of one pregnant woman who’s currently attending virtual antenatal clinics. Her doctor calls to know how she’s doing. If nothing is out of place, they tell her to remain home and keep doing all she knows to do.
However, another pregnant woman in my neighborhood goes to the hospital occasionally.
Not being able to talk to a doctor can be troubling to an extent. You may have questions that you need answer to. And if these answers aren’t forthcoming, you may become anxious.
Nonetheless, remember to stay positive about skipping antenatal clinics. If you’re home, safe and sound, you can trust that your baby also is.
· No Access to Good Food including Fruits and Vegetables
Another thing that could cause anxiety during the lockdown is food limitation.
So, it’s possible that you bought some food supplies before the lockdown. It’s been over 5 weeks now in this part of the world. In other parts, the social isolation is over 2 months.
Now, you may have run out of supplies. Including fruits and vegetables. Because of how important it is to take fruits and vegetables regularly, you may be bothered. Which is totally okay.
Eating a good range of fruits such as bananas, apples, watermelon, and avocado is great for your baby’s health. Also, combining cucumber, spinach, carrot, and other green veggies in a nice salad mix can boost your metabolism. And keep you looking fresh.
But you don’t have to feel so limited. If you have families who have trees in your neighborhood, you could approach them. And request a combination of fruits. Or vegetables.
For example, I ran out of fruits. And needed oranges so badly. I visited a neighbor who has several fruit trees planted in her compound. And made my request.
She was gracious enough to send fourteen medium-sized oranges to me. Through her son.
As soon as I received them, I washed them very carefully. And extracted some of the orange juice for my baby. He loves the juice.
So, what’s my point? Seek people in your neighborhood who can supply you fruits and vegetables. And if you run out of food, find a good time to get some. Or reach out to a local supply for home delivery.
What really matters is that you’re feeding well. For yourself, and your little one.
· Not Getting Enough Emotional and Physical Support at Home
Pregnant women need a lot of emotional support during the lockdown. And many may not be getting the kind of help and guidance that they seek.
Take for example a woman whose husband worked in another city before the lockdown. If he couldn’t come home due to traveling restrictions, it would mean that she’s all alone. By herself.
Such a reality can be painful. Because pregnant women need support. Encouragement. Love in a super big jar.
Now, if you don’t have your husband at home, try to communicate with him several times in the day. Or if you don’t feel like he’s emotionally supportive as you’d like, reach out to friends or other family members. Talk to someone that takes your fears away.
It’s vital that you can share your anxieties and thoughts with someone who’s ready to listen.
We live in devastating times. And we all need to stay strong. For one another. So, reach out to someone who strengthens you in a way.
And if what you really need is an extra hand – to cook, do the laundries, or reorganize your home – just take it slow. Don’t do anything that’ll hurt your back. Or put any pressure on yourself in the wrong way.
· Absence of the Zeal to take Your Prenatal Vitamins
Pregnancy vitamins can be a nightmare. And that’s because you have to take them daily.
As I approached my thirteenth week of pregnancy, I came face to face with my fear of medication.
I was supposed to swallow those prego pills for every single day till delivery. And after. I had Pregmum, calcium, and vitamin C. Seriously. It was super tiring.
Many times, my husband would plead, force, and threaten to get me to use them. Once, he was ready to buy me my favorite drink. Just to make me take the prenatal vitamins.
Here’s the thing:
You may not like those pills. But you need them. Your baby needs them to mature well. Without the daily dose of calcium and iron, for example, your child’s formation will be negatively impacted.
That’s not what you want.
So, even if you don’t feel motivated to swallow your meds, please try. Try.
You could fix a particular time of the day to take them. Just do your best. It’s going to be good enough in the long run.
· Questions and Doubts about the Health of Your Unborn
This final point is closely tied to the point about skipping antenatal visits.
Not being able to ask your questions about coronavirus and your baby’s health can make your anxious. And the worst part of it is that the Internet is filled with so much information. Good. And bad. Confusing. Helpful.
How do you know when an online article isn’t misleading you? What’s the best way to get answers to your doubts?
Call your doctor. Or send a short message letting them know how you feel. Don’t be quick to jump on Google when something crosses your mind.
Inasmuch as there are lots of valuable information on the Web, you don’t want to risk your health. And your baby’s.
Whether you want to know why your lower back hurts, or what you can do to sleep better, talk to an expert.
Alternatively, talk to your closest relative who has children. Talk to someone with experience.
Of course, no two pregnancies are the same.
But knowing that you can talk to someone who relates to your fears is soothing. Don’t let misleading reports add to your anxiety levels. Seek counsel from someone you can trust.
What Can Pregnant Women do to Overcome Anxiety during the Lockdown?
We’ve looked at the things that can cause anxiety in pregnant women during the lockdown.
Let’s now talk about what you can do to overcome anxiety during the lockdown. First, you need to know that these things are simple.
Next, these ways of treating anxiety while pregnant don’t cost any money. You only need the right mind and attitude. And the willingness to do them irrespective of how you feel.
So, here you go.
· Elevate Your Spirit with Music, Dancing, and Exercise
Music, dancing, and exercise are three things that worked for me during my pregnancy.
Dancing in front of the mirror is one of my fun activities. And it’s mainly because I get to laugh at my bouncing tummy and ridiculous moves.
After dancing to good music and working out, my spirit feels lifted. I feel like I can go on. All past fears, worries, and doubts disappear. And often never return.
Listening to music and dancing while pregnant is also good for your baby. And don’t forget to make a video. I watched my pregnancy dance video last week. I laughed all the while.
Expectant mothers are encouraged to move their body more often. Even if the exercise is for only 30 minutes a day.
There are lots of pregnancy exercises that you’d love. Just make sure you don’t overdo it.
· Nourish Your Body with Fruits and Vegetables
As I earlier mentioned, get fruits and vegetables. Eating well while pregnant during the COVID-19 is essential.
Your body needs them to help your baby grow. You also need them to get the right nutrients. And feel strong as your due date draws closer.
If you can’t shop for the food you need, it’s fine. Call some of your grocery stores. And request that they deliver what you need.
If these two ideas don’t work, talk to a neighbor in your area. You might not get a rich variety of fruits and vegetables. But whatever you get would have to do. For now, at least.
· Enhance Your Little One with Your Prenatal Vitamins
Once again, I’d stress the point about your pregnancy vitamins.
Skipping them means slowing down your baby’s growth. In the worst case, it could mean deformation for one body part or the other.
So, be committed to taking your prego pills. You need them to stay vibrant. And your little one needs them to look more human as the days go by.
· Renew Your Strength Supply with Water Therapy
Water is your most needed resource as a pregnant woman during the lockdown.
Due to the frequent sitting down and reduced activity, your joints may not be as agile. Hence, you should try to increase your water intake.
Consider a water therapy. To boost your immune system. And get rid of any strange guys.
But more than that, taking up to 4 liters of water daily will strengthen you. And help to prevent urinary tract infection. Or other forms of diseases associated with poor elimination of body waste.
· Entertain Your Mind with Journaling
Journaling is a beautiful way to overcome anxiety during the lockdown. What makes it beautiful?
Writing in a journal is like writing a story. And nothing can be more fun than recording your pregnancy journey in a little book.
Reading it after your bay has come will bring you so much joy.
Just two months ago, I picked up my pregnancy journal. And I laughed at many of the things I wrote it in.
I started journaling a couple of days after I learned I was prego. For me, it was important to record the pregnancy experience. Not just because it was my first baby. But mainly because I wanted to be able to go back to the book. And relive those beautiful days.
Feel free to write whatever you want. Your fears. Hopes. Baby name suggestions. Anxieties. COVID-19 details for pregnant women and how it scared you. How your husband took care of you. Or upset you.
You could also write your questions. Doubts. Wishes. Dreams. Baby shopping plans. Baby room decoration ideas.
Anything. Just feel free to bare your thoughts on paper. It will entertain your mind. And keep you busy with something more relaxing than news about coronavirus.
· Raise Your Faith with Soothing Bible Promises
At the start of my pregnancy last year, my mentor shared some 30+ Bible promises for pregnancy with me.
She had used them and shared them with other pregnant women she knew.
I visited the website. And I wrote out all the verses into a small paper. Which I then folded neatly into my Bible.
Every day, before devotion with my hubby, I would read the exact bible passages. With my hands on my belly, I’d claim the promises for myself and my baby.
One of my best pregnancy Bible promises was Isaiah 66:9.
Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth?
Saith the LORD:
Shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb?
Saith thy God.
It was enough assurance that I was going to meet my baby. At the right time.
No questions, I had had fears about losing my little one. I had read news of pregnant women who lost their babies. At the beginning. Middle. Or close to delivery.
So, I was scared.
But these Bible readings calmed my nerves. And raised my faith.
I even went ahead to record an audio version of these bible promises for pregnant women. Which I even shared with a friend who was also pregnant at the time.
She had her baby girl four months after my son came.
Plus, you don’t have to be a Christian to love these promises. And find them valuable. The hope they speak knows no race, religion, or language.
· Boost Your Confidence with Expert Pregnancy Advice from BabyCenter
Finally, BabyCenter was my go-to pregnancy school.
And I never went wrong with them. The website and app taught me everything I needed to know about pregnancy. Even my husband and brother admitted that I was more informed than the average pregnant woman in our part of the world.
Now, this isn’t to say I was better. It’s only to emphasize the importance of this website.
Let me show you how it worked for me.
How BabyCenter Worked for Me
- BabyCenter gave me November 22 as my EDD – it was correct. My ultrasound scan said November 20 or 24.
- BabyCenter explained each stage of my pregnancy. Week by week. Month by month. Everything was apt.
- When no one could explain why my baby was hiccupping in the womb – BabyCenter did. They had a good and clear explanation. And they calmed my fears.
- The contraction timer on BabyCenter worked for me on the day my baby was born. From around 1 pm, I tracked my contractions with the timer. At around 4:30 pm, it was time to go to the hospital. Nothing was amiss. We weren’t too early. Or too late.
- In the week following my son’s birth, BabyCenter explained the postnatal experience. The lochia. How to avoid or manage postnatal depression. What to do. How to dress my little one. When it was okay to resume lovemaking with my husband. And the baby poop gallery was a comfort. A big one.
- Even after 5 months, I still consult my BabyCenter app for guidance. And the app still works with the precise age of my son. Around 4 months, my son had sleep regression. I was initially bothered. But when I found the answers on BabyCenter, I was reassured.
- I recommended BabyCenter to my friend who gave birth four months after me. And it worked for her so well. She still uses the app.
What’s my point? BabyCenter isn’t your doctor or midwife. But it’s a great website to overcome anxiety during the lockdown.
And the app is so interactive and engaging. You’ll learn a lot more than you ever knew about pregnancy. In a simple manner too.
Final Thoughts on Pregnancy and Anxiety during COVID-19
In all, being anxious during the lockdown isn’t something we can explain away. It’s the reality for many pregnant women.
But the truth is you can overcome it. You can learn the triggers for your anxious moments. And you can take the suggestions I’ve shared.
Remember, your baby’s health is closely connected to yours. So, do everything you can to stay healthy while pregnant during the coronavirus.
If you’d like to talk about your pregnancy or how you feel, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m not a medical expert. But I can listen to you. And hold your hands in hope and faith.