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Top Tips For Pregnant Women During a Pandemic

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by ABC Writer (subscribe)
Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
Published May 29th 2020
Ways to maintain your mental health and wellbeing
Being pregnant during the Coronavirus outbreak can be daunting, especially if you are limited to how often you can see friends and loved ones - but there's help at hand.

pregnant woman, pregnancy during lockdown
Stuck indoors during the Coronavirus outbreak can make pregnant women feel anxious

Leading voices in maternal health and wellbeing offer their advice and top tips for mums-to-be to keep the mind distracted and relaxed despite the on-going crisis.

Nesting to help your mental health

Mum-of-two Neev Spencer is a maternal mental health campaigner and presenter. She said nesting was an instinctive activity to get a home ready for a new baby, which in turn mentally helps new parents adjust to what is about to happen.

Spencer said ways to nest included planning and decorating a baby's nursery. Her tip to distract from having more time at home was to spend parts of the day looking over design ideas and craft all-important touches to a nursery.

Spencer, who holds weekly mental health chats on Sundays on Instagram, said: "Being pregnant and navigating through the minefield of hormones is a challenging enough, but adding self-isolation into the mix brings an even greater challenge, so it's no wonder that new and expectant mothers are suffering at this time."

nursery, nesting, pregnant women
Let your baby's nursery start to take shape

She added: "Pregnancies are usually the time we dream of baby moons, baby showers, and showing off your bump to your nearest and dearest as you eagerly await the arrival of your bundle of joy. But lockdown pregnancies couldn't be further from this. Staying indoors for most of the day, unable to see your loved ones and close friends, with your perfect pre-baby plans dashed is far from ideal, however there are still ways to make the most of this time and prepare for your big day.

"Nesting plays a big part in how you mentally prepare for the arrival of your baby, and a lovely therapeutic way of spending newfound time indoors.

"Painting the nursery and planning all the finishing touches are great ways to help pass the lockdown days and keep your mental health in a good place. Crafting has been scientifically shown to help reduce stress, release tension and promote wellbeing, so find what hobby craft works for you."

Try home-based relaxation methods

Keep relaxed with mindfulness, pregnancy fitness classes or even yoga.

yoga in pregnancy, relaxation for pregnant women, lockdown advice
Yoga can help with mindfulness during lockdown

Online pregnancy fitness classes are widely available including by Powerful Pregnancy and The Yoga Midwife or at Tonic on Youtube.

Taking time to do a few classes each week will really help you with aches and pains you might be feeling, added Neev Spencer.

She added that regular classes also give pregnant women the all-important sense of routine that they may be lacking in lockdown.

The NCT, an organisation that supports parents through the first 1000 days, said gentle yoga sessions can help pregnant women get their bodies ready for birth.

"Yoga can benefit pregnant women in lots of different ways. Staying active through light exercise does your body and baby good, "said an NCT spokeswoman. "Relax, sleep better, soothe aches and pains, and feel more positive."

Get some fresh air

Make the most of time outdoors, whether its a gentle stroll locally or time in the garden.

Even the briefest of moments outside feeling the sunlight on your face can have a positive effect on the body and mind.

pregnancy in lockdown, tips for women, time in garden
Even reading a book in the garden instead of inside can make a difference

Connect With Other Pregnant Women

Sometimes it can help to reflect on things with other people in the same boat.

Connecting with other pregnant women can be a godsend and thanks to social media, there are plenty of forums, groups and hashtags to join and feel part of a community.

Even if it is to hear that other women are experiencing the same doubts, anxieties or trends as you.

Facebook can be a good source of finding groups close to where you live or for national and international forums, there's Bump Club from Mas & Pas, MadeforMums and Mumsnet.

Tommy's Facebook group is also a helpful pregnancy hub for women to exchange comments and get advice.

Don't Think Of It As Lockdown

Tommy's charity, which supports pregnant women and new mothers, has offered advice on coping emotionally during lockdown.

"It may help to rid your mind of the term 'lockdown' and think of yourself in a protective bubble you and your baby in your own safe little world."

tommys, pregnant women, pregnancy in lockdown
Tommy's Facebook page has advice and a chance to connect with other pregnant women

"Try not to think about what you can do, rather than what you can't. For example, although you can't visit friends or go and sit in a coffee shop, you do have a lot of precious time to bond with your baby," added the Tommy's spokesman.

The charity advised women that it was important to take time to try and eat well, rest as much as possible and spend 30 minutes a day doing something for themselves, particularly after giving birth. This ranged from having a shower or reading a magazine to chatting with a friend.

Prepare By Shopping Online

With concerns over shopping closely near other people and using masks, shopping online can reduce the stress and anxieties involved with regular trips to the supermarket or shops.

Plan ahead and get everything you need for a hospital bag and the newborn so you don't feel the pressure ahead of the birth.

This can especially help abate your worries if shops are not stocking as much as usual due to the outbreak or you are concerned about having to join queues to shop instore.

Tap Into Free Anti-Natal Help and Apps

Free anti-natal advice is being offered online by organisations including Bounty, The Honest Midwife and Birth Better.

Apps that you can download for free include Freya, which also offer ways to practise hypnobirthing techniques and Kicks Count, which helps you keep track of your baby's movement in the womb.

pregnancy during lockdown, pandemic, pregnancy tips
Simple changes can help you keep positive during the pandemic

Speak Up To Your Midwife

Despite the virus, healthcare professionals and midwives are keen to hear from patients on any and everything - even if it is in a virtual capacity rather than face to face.

Normal check-ups remain in place and it's important to always speak up about any concerns or anxieties you have.

More time to spend thinking of a baby name

With more time in the home, you'll be able to spend longer considering the lasting legacy you'll give your newborn - their name.

While you may be inspired by healthcare heroes or good samaritans during the lockdown, there are also traditional names and findings into the most popular or successful names.

For instance, latest research by found that a first name may determine a future salary.

To investigate the value afforded to common car-inspired baby names, utilised Adzuna's 'ValueMyName' tool.

Of the boys' names, the name Jeremy worked out as potentially scooping the largest salary followed by Stanley and Richard, as you can see in its chart below.

popular boys baby names based on cars
Jeremy tops the list

In terms of girls names, did research into the most popular name in the world in 2017 and found that it was Sophia (or Sofia).

With origins in Greek, the name means wisdom or skill and was found to be the most popular girl's name in eight countries of Mexico, Russia, Argentina, Italy, Switzerland, Estonia, Chile and Slovakia while the second or third favourite name in a further 20 nations.
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