Look after yourself with this helpful guide
Pregnancy marks one of the biggest changes in a person’s life, and while it is often a joyous occasion and experience, it can also bring a host of worries and uncertainty. A Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RCOG) survey of over 2,300 women found that over two-thirds of women experienced low moods and around half experienced anxiety during pregnancy and within the first year after childbirth. With the added pressure of a global pandemic, handling these issues and knowing what to expect during and after pregnancy is likely to be harder than ever before.
While the situation is changing at an uncertain pace and the UK is beginning to find some semblance of normality, the coronavirus outbreak has made it harder to be with others and find support. A survey of UK adults during lockdown found that one in four said they had feelings of loneliness, marking a 14 per cent increase from pre-lockdown levels. Adapting to all of this change is also likely to be harder for some than for others, and you might be feeling unsure or uncomfortable about going back to ‘normal’ just now.
Though we cannot know what the world will look like in nine months’ time, Spatone® has put together a few ways you can find support and navigate pregnancy during this time.
1. Find a support network
Finding a support network will be different than it was before and this can be slightly off-putting for some. You might not know where to begin and who to reach out to but it’s important to find a group of people you can relate to or rely on for support. Have a look around social media networks for a pregnancy group – even if it’s virtual, it might make you feel more connected and less alone. There might also be a local group for pregnant women in your area that you can meet up with in a park. If you have any friends who’ve been pregnant before, don’t be afraid to ask them questions about their experience. Talk to your friends and family regularly and try finding two to three people that you know you can count on if you’re feeling low.
2. Talk about it
Feeling uncertain or low at moments during your pregnancy is normal and talking about it with the right people can help you work through those feelings. If you struggle to open up to friends or family about your doubts, seeking out the help of a healthcare professional could help. The RCOG survey showed that most women would be comfortable talking to a healthcare professional about their mental health but that the most important aspect of this was the person and not necessarily their profession, so make sure you do your research on the healthcare professional you choose so that you feel comfortable opening up to them.
Though it’s important to feel connected to others, finding time for yourself is also essential to prevent burn-out and keep you healthy and happy throughout your pregnancy. With the easing of restrictions, many are also feeling unsure about socialising and might feel pressured to go out and see friends. If you’re experiencing FOGO (the Fear Of Going Out), then taking it slow and making time for yourself is more important than ever. If you’ve got busy days, try implementing a morning and evening routine to help you feel connected to yourself. In the morning, you could try meditation, having a longer breakfast than usual, or doing a pre-natal yoga video online. In the evenings, take time to settle down by reading a book, taking a bath or doing your skincare.
Taking care of your health is always important, especially during pregnancy but it can be difficult to know exactly what you should and shouldn’t be eating while pregnant. By providing your body with all of its necessary nutrients, you’ll stay fit and healthy, improve your immune system, and your baby will be nurtured in the best way possible. Healthcare practitioner Maggie Evans tells us Iron, Zinc, Calcium and B Vitamins are top nutrients for pregnancy. Iron is vital to physical growth and brain development as it helps produce the blood required to supply nutrition to the placenta. This demand is especially heavy in the last three months of pregnancy. Some women may be recommended by their GP or midwife to use a supplement such as Spatone® to go along with their healthy diet.
Though some restrictions are lifting, it’s so difficult to know how your pregnancy will look like, and this can be pretty unsettling. Though you can’t know for sure what will really happen, and living in the present is important, scenario planning might help you navigate the course of events. Write down three or four different rough plans for the next few months, including a few goals in each and different pregnancy timelines. This will help you prepare for what might come but keep in mind that you might need to be flexible with the different scenarios. Come back to them in a week or two and see how things have changed. Once you feel a little more reassured, put the plan aside and try to focus on the present again.