How to emotionally ready yourself to give birth during the covid-19 pandemic

Giving birth is hard. Giving birth during a pandemic is a different ball game altogether. So here are some tips for pregnant women that can help them be emotionally ready for this roller coaster.
Childbirth is not easy, but awareness can help you ease the journey. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Sapna Bangar Published: 13 May 2020, 19:12 pm IST
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The covid-19 lockdown has wreaked havoc on our well-laid, well-researched, and well-thought-out plans. So if you are pregnant and are expecting a lockdown baby, it’s natural to feel anxious about what this means for your birthing process. It certainly won’t be anything you would have hoped for. 

Having a baby under normal circumstances can be a stressful process with your body going through a physically traumatising process. It also marks the start of your journey as a parent. That’s a lot to deal with, so it’s no wonder mommies can get stressed out about it! 

But add to that, the uncertainty about a worldwide pandemic and there are bound to be questions galore. So how do you deal with the situation? Here are five tips for pregnant women to help them emotionally prepare for giving birth during a pandemic: 

1. Have a plan B and C ready
To be honest, having a baby is a family affair in India. We rely a lot on family support for aftercare for the new-born baby. Many of you might have asked your mothers or mother-in-law to help out.

Starting a family can be a cakewalk, so it’s better to make a checklist. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

But many such plans may have to be put to rest with guidelines on social distancing and people being unable to travel and stuck in situations beyond their control. Many hospitals are not allowing visitors and only your partner or husband is allowed, if you are lucky.

So, please check with your doctor for changes in hospital policies. Prepare for contingencies and plan accordingly. Rehearse in your mind and visualize how it would look like with just you and your partner. Be creative with your solutions.

2. Think positive thoughts!
Surround yourself with positivity and stop worrying about things that are beyond your control. Don’t see the news that often and reduce social media inputs as this will only add to your worries.

Think about the positive outcome like holding your baby in your hands. Challenge your negative thoughts like-‘I can’t do this, it is too difficult’ and ask yourself if it is useful? Instead look at this as a temporary phase which will pass as well.

3. Use technology to be on top of things
Use technology to stay in touch with family and friends. Share experiences with other moms-to-be. Gather relevant information like helpline numbers, tips from your family, and easy to make healthy recipes (believe me they will come in handy once your baby is born). You can even attend online antenatal classes but remember, stay away from negative influences.

Say yes to tele-consultation for regular check-ups during this lockdown. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Employ relaxation techniques
Visualisation is a useful tool to relieve anxiety and stress about birth. Practice relaxation, deep breathing, and mental imagery where you think about a pleasant memory or place that calms you down if you start feeling anxious.

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Gentle exercises like Yoga or walking within the confines of your house will keep you active. They are coping techniques to help expectant women feel calmer, more prepared, and able to process events during labour without panic

5. Seek support
You might have to rely on your neighbours for help as we are all learning about community support. It is okay to ask for support in these times. Everyone is gladly contributing towards our community. Talk to others and if you feel overwhelmed, talk to a professional who can guide you in the right direction.

Remember, you are not alone and even if we may not be in your compartment, we certainly are in the same boat!

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About the Author

Dr Bangar is the head of MPower centre in Mumbai. She is specialist child and adolescent psychiatrist with a certificate of clinical training from the UK. She completed her undergraduate medical degree and postgraduate degree in psychiatry from Nair Hospital in Mumbai, prior to going to the UK. ...Read More

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