Never in living memory has there been a more worrying time to be pregnant and give birth! But despite the challenges of giving birth during the coronavirus pandemic you can still have a positive pregnancy and birth.
Currently pregnant women in the UK have been advised to self isolate for 12 weeks. Based on the evidence available this seems to be a precautionary measure. Studies so far show that pregnant women are not at a higher risk of catching Covid-19. They don't seem to be suffering any more serious effects of the disease (see ROCOG research). This period of self isolation should be seen as a blessing. A chance to rest where otherwise you would be rushing around, commuting and working full time. Even your antenatal appointments are being cancelled or done over the phone. Take this chance to step back and truly unwind by:
Listening to some pregnancy relaxations
Doing an online pregnancy yoga or pilates course
Taking relaxing bubble baths
Reading all those baby books you bought
Getting your partner to give you massages
Keeping calm in pregnancy during the coronavirus outbreak
If you are feeling stressed, anxious and full of fear about giving birth with everything that’s going on around you there are several things you can do:
Listen to a fear release hypnosis relaxation. I have recorded a special 'coronavirus & birth' fear release relaxation that you can download for free here
Speak to your midwife about any changes or restrictions that are in place due to coronavirus. See what you can do to minimise disruptions and prepare yourself for any changes
Remember the affirmation ‘I control what I can and let go of what I can’t’. It’s such a good one as the situation seems to be changing weekly and a lot of these changes will be out of your control
Take a hypnobirthing course that has a module on giving birth during the covid-19 outbreak (you can book on to one of mine here)
Write down your worries on a piece of paper the tear them up and throw them away
Write some positive birth affirmations for yourself
Read some positive birth stories, particularly ones that have happened during the coronavirus outbreak
Giving birth in a pandemic
When it comes to giving birth things are changing rapidly at the moment! When the outbreak first arrived maternity units were stopping birth partners from being present at births. Many women had to birth alone! Thankfully the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives released this statement:
Now the only reason a birth partner wouldnt be allowed is if they are presenting symptoms of covid-19.
Planning a home birth during the Covid-19 outbreak?
If you're in an area that is not too badly affected by coronavirus then your trust may still be facillitating home births. Unfortunately many women’s home birth plans have been scuppered. The sad reality is that our ambulance services are being stretched to the limit dealing with coronavirus patients. The result of this is that they cannot be on standby in the event of a transfer to hospital being required. For some women this can be heartbreaking. In these uncertain times where so many are suffering, losing, their jobs, businesses, houses and lives there are some sacrifices that have to be made. In comparison to some of those things a change of birth place is small, it may seem huge now but once you have your baby in your arms it will hopefully seem immaterial in the grand scheme of things.
Birth centre or labour ward birth during the coronavirus pandemic
So whether you had a home birth planned and have to now birth in hospital, or you were planning on giving birth in a birthing centre but now have to use the delivery suite; these are some of the things that can help you have a positive birth during the coronavirus pandemic
Once more the affirmation ‘I control what I can and let go of what I cant’ comes in. These are the things you can control:
How you react and how you feel
Music or relaxations that you listen to
Smells around you (your favourite essential oils or favourite perfume)
Things you can see (pictures of loved ones or a favourite place, scan picture of your baby, printed positive birth affirmations)
If you’ve done a hypnobirthing course all the tools and techniques for relaxation that you’ve learnt will be even more important (breathing techniques, visualisations, your partner reading you a script, massage techniques)
Try and make your environment as homely as possible even if you're on a labour ward (if there are monitors and machines turn the volume down, turn them to face the other way, move the bed to the side of the room, bring a favourite blanket or pillow)
Have a supportive birth partner. Whether it’s your boyfriend, hubby, sister, mum or bestie, a supportive birth partner can be your rock. The one person who can keep you calm and grounded throughout. If your birth partner is feeling a bit clueless about how to help you stay calm get booked on a hypnobirthing course, they'll learn so many ways to support you.
Wherever you end up giving birth during this pandemic just know that you can do it! And you can do it calmly and confidently no matter what the circumstances. You got this mumma!