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Like many pregnant women across the globe, you may have been asked to self-isolate for a substantial amount of time in order to protect yourself and your baby against Covid19. At this stage, in our limited experience of the Coronavirus, the risks to pregnant women are deemed to be relatively low, however self-isolation has been recommended as a precautionary measure due to the increased risk of infection during pregnancy.
Whilst these are incredibly anxious times for all, expecting a baby at this time of huge unrest and unknown (along with the addition of those rollercoaster pregnancy hormones) can make a period of self-isolation a very challenging time.
As unsettling as being pregnant during a global pandemic may be, as a Mom-to-be, its crucial you take practical steps to protect the health and wellbeing of yourself and your unborn child.
Here are my tips on how to look after yourself when pregnant and self-isolating:
If you are still working during pregnancy, speak to your employer about whether your role has the ability to be done from home. Whilst working from home may not be part of your normal daily routine, they may be able to supply you with the required equipment that enables you to logon remotely, thus avoiding unnecessary contact with those who have the potential to pass on the virus.
Working from home can feel quite isolating at times, so its important to make the most of the tools available to you such as video conferencing and instant messenger to keep in touch with your colleagues.
Stay Connected with Friends and Family
It can be upsetting to stay away from friends and family, particularly those who may also be self-isolating due to their age or health conditions. In order to look after your mental health during pregnancy, it is important to stay as connected as you can – ensuring regular communication you’re your loved ones and maintaining as much ‘normal’ contact as possible. We are lucky that we live in a digital age where we benefit from tools such as WhatsApp, Skype, FaceTime, and social media. You may want to create your own smaller private group on social to avoid information overwhelm and create a safe place for sharing photos and updates with friends and family.
Take regular breaks from media
As tempting as it may be to continuously scroll through your Facebook feed or look at every single breaking news alert that comes through to your phone, try and limit your media use and details about the Coronavirus to official sources such as the World Health Organization. Avoid reading sensationalist headlines in tabloid press and potential fake news that may be spreading on social media, as this can heighten anxiety.
Fresh air and exercise
When in self-isolation, cabin fever can very quickly set in, and it is important to try and maintain some fresh air and exercise in your daily routine during pregnancy. Even a short walk around the garden and online pregnancy yoga videos or meditation, which can easily be done from the comfort of your own home, will help your overall health and wellbeing. Antenatal yoga in particular is great for helping you relax and destress, as well as teaching some of those all important breathing techniques for labor.
Whist in isolation, the change in your normal routine can affect the way you eat and when. Where possible, try and maintain your normal meal times and eat healthy snacks regularly throughout the day. Eat a varied and balanced diet where possible and continue to take your antenatal vitamins in order to keep your immune system high.
During pregnancy, it is really important for both you and your baby that you get plenty of rest, but with so much to think about you may be struggling to drift off at night. If you are having difficulty getting to, or staying asleep, sleep sounds or a meditation / mindfulness app before bed may help you relax and settle to sleep.
Ask for help
During self-isolation, ask for support from friends and family where you can to bring in essential supplies like food and baby products. Whilst stockpiling is not necessary, you may want to ensure you have some essential supplies should your baby arrive earlier than expected.
Antenatal and postnatal care
The current advice is that antenatal and postnatal care should continue as normal, however, avoid public transport where possible and take preventative measures such as regular hand washing using soap and water (for 20 seconds) or using alcohol based hand gel.
No one is pretending that self-isolation during pregnancy is going to be easy, but remember you are not alone, there are so many people in the same boat, and the Pulse chat pages are a great place to reach out to others going through the same new and somewhat daunting experience.