5 Tips for Pregnant Women During Lockdown
South Africa’s nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus is proving a stressful burden for new moms-to-be and new parents. Whether you’re in your first trimester or your last, you’re probably wondering how lockdown will affect your unborn child. With scientists still uncertain as to how COVID-19 might affect unborn babies, many expecting moms are now forced to consider alternative birthing plans among other things. Although your thoughts may have shifted from typical pregnancy concerns to survival mode, try not to panic. Here’s what to expect when you’re expecting during lockdown.
Pregnancy in Lockdown
Apart from not being able to celebrate a baby shower, register your baby with Home Affairs or attend antenatal classes (in person, that is), your regular visit to your OBGYN just got a lot more complicated.
Hospitals have put strict safety measures for those going in and out. Before one can enter, your temperature is checked. Once inside, you are encouraged to wear a mask and are escorted to where you are headed inside the hospital.
Visitors are also subjected to a screening process, during which they are asked health-related questions. These used to only cover your recent movement and whether you’ve had contact with anyone, who has already contracted the coronavirus. Now, these screenings include questions about any flu-like symptoms you may currently be experiencing, since coronavirus patients often suffer similar symptoms. You must, then, sanitise your hands and wear a safety check sticker; only then can you proceed with your appointment.
Giving Birth During Lockdown
Although the World Health Organisation recommends that birth partners should be allowed to be present during the labour process, some hospitals around the world are now preventing this – South Africa’s included. Birth regulations in South Africa have recently changed in the wake of the pandemic. Now, birthing partners – whether they be friend or family – are not allowed in the hospital room where the birth is taking place. This means no visitors, including family (e.g. grandparents), are not allowed to visit after the birth.
Pregnancy Health Tips During Lockdown
1. Stay Calm And Relaxed
It’s important to remain calm and relaxed. Try finding different ways of keeping your mind occupied. You can read a book, take a bath, meditate, or listen to relaxing music. Take time each day to give your body the rest it needs as this will help reduce anxiety and stress.
2. Eat Well And Exercise
It’s vital to keep yourself and your unborn baby healthy. Eliminate foods with added preservatives as well as foods high in sugar. Low impact exercise like yoga can leave you feeling better thanks to endorphins, which are released when you move your body. Regular exercise can help boost circulation to your reproductive organs and your immune system. You can find plenty of pregnancy-friendly exercise routines online to keep you and baby healthy.
3. Stay Safe By Following The Guidelines
You must wash your hand regularly for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your face, cough into your elbow, and self-isolate at home as much as possible. If you need to go out for essentials, remember to maintain a social distance of at least 1.5m. When travelling to the hospital for an appointment, avoid public transport if you can.
4. Use Online Resources
With antenatal classes and baby groups cancelled, you can find decent substitutes in the form of online courses and live Q&A’s as a way to keep up with other expecting parents. Social media is also a great resource for expert advice and guidelines. Live Q&A’s on Instagram can help new moms to connect with women who offer much-needed support. This is also a comfortable way to connect with other new moms as they offer advice post-birth and how to deal with new challenges after birth.
5. Home Birth
as more hospital staff members are becoming part of the infection statistics, you might be considering a home birth. You can switch from an obstetrician to a midwife but keep the hospital in mind as a back-up plan. Home births give you the flexibility of having your birth partner with you giving you the support you need during birth.
Remember that your overall health should be your priority – this includes your mental health. A lot of women didn’t foresee themselves being pregnant under lockdown. However, you can get through it by taking the precautions. With support from your loved ones and the financial peace of mind of a health insurance policy, you can still have a beautiful birth story.