Stressed about getting pregnant during the pandemic? Here are some tips from a fertility specialist

If you’re planning on getting pregnant during the coronavirus pandemic, you need to take care of your mental health too! A fertility specialist highlights things you can do to take care of your mental well-being.
Ensure your health is in check before you plan pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Uma Maheshwari Published: 21 May 2021, 06:17 pm IST
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The evolving developments related to the ongoing and unsettling pandemic has caused widespread anxiety. Some women, who planned on getting pregnant this year, have started wondering if they should go ahead with their plan or delay it. As a fertility expert, this is a question I encounter quite commonly. My answer is always that even before the pregnancy, taking care of your mental wellbeing as well as your physical health is important. 

Many people don’t pay enough attention to their mental well-being and end up neglecting it. Maintaining a healthy mind is important for a baby’s development and health.  If you are mentally healthy, you will be in the best position to manage the challenges of pregnancy and life with a new baby.

Planning to have a baby can be very exciting but also daunting for parents-to-be. It is common to experience some emotional changes at this time. Hormonal and physical changes occur during pregnancy. When you prepare for a huge change in life, you could encounter a variety of thoughts revolving around monetary preparation for affording a baby, carrier challenges related to your work life, preparing for responsibilities, changes in physical appearance, a shift in your health status and the huge unknown factor- the time it would take to become pregnant.

When you’re trying to conceive, it is important to remain calm and not get stressed. Stress can hurt the chances of becoming pregnant.  Being anxious about these things is normal but one should not focus too much on encountering fertility problems. Some may feel stressed about things such as antenatal tests, particularly if they had a bad experience before, such as a miscarriage. It is understandable but it is also important to develop a positive mindset when you’re starting your journey of parenthood.

mental health
Ensure that your mental health is at place for a healthy child. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Tips to manage your mental health while trying to start a family

Work from home, a breakdown in the daily schedule, a sedentary lifestyle, temporary unemployment and lack of physical contact with other family members, friends and colleagues add up several mental health issues for a couple who are trying to start a family. It is common to feel anxious, uneasy, worried, afraid and sad, but here are a few handy tips that can help you take care of your emotional health as you try to conceive. These include:

  • Being active/exercising or following a routine walking schedule 
  • Eating well  means a home-cooked nutritious diet 
  • Being honest about your feelings with each other
  • Talking to someone you can trust – your partner, a family member or a friend. Having a support network of people close to you who you can trust and can talk to before you become pregnant will be very helpful during pregnancy and afterwards when you have a small baby to look after. It will also help you keep stress levels down.
  • Finding ways to relax like pursuing a hobby or enjoying what you like the most.
  • Alcohol and drugs can be bad for your mental health, making feelings of depression and anxiety worse. Sometimes, people may also use alcohol or drugs as a way of trying to cope with mental health problems. When you are planning a pregnancy, it is best to stop drinking alcohol and taking drugs. Chronic (continual) and ongoing stress can sometimes affect the baby’s development in the womb.
  • Take care of your relationship with your partner. For some, trying to conceive can improve their relationship. For others, trying to conceive can cause some stress and sex may become routine or even feel like a chore. This can cause problems between partners
mental health
Stay calm and safe during your pandemic pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
  • Limit the exposure to COVID-19 related news. It is natural to constantly seek more and more information about the pandemic, but this would only add to the underlying anxiety and fear of getting infected. Try to seek COVID-19 updates periodically from authenticated websites, news portals, and government announcements, and limit any conversations related to it with your peers and family
  • Get enough sleep. Go to bed at a consistent time every day, even on the weekends and avoid caffeine a few hours before bed. Shut off electronic devices at least two hours before you go to bed.
  • Physically isolate but stay social. Consider using Skype, FaceTime, or other video chat services during the pandemic
  • Maintain physical and physiological hygiene.
  • Limit venturing out of the house unnecessarily.

It is common to go through all kinds of emotions as you plan to get pregnant, but it’s important to be aware of any changing feelings. Consult a doctor if you’ve been feeling depressed for more than a few weeks and your anxiety has affected your daily life.  Other warning signs are negative thoughts and feelings affecting your ability to function normally, losing interest, or feeling hopeless or unable to cope. Don’t hesitate from seeking help for your mental health.


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About the Author

Dr. Uma Maheshwari is a consultant, reproductive medicine, at Cloudnine Group of Hospitals in Bengaluru ...Read More

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