Tracy Donegan, Founder and President of GentleBirth, is a medically trained midwife, published author and positive birth expert. Here she shares with us her top tips for expectant mums during a lockdown.
The first few days of a lockdown can feel a bit surreal (isn’t everything right now) for expectant mums. Under any other circumstances two unexpected weeks off work sounds great especially when you’re not sick. It’s like a really weird duvet day (or 20…).
Working from home can be a blessing or a curse depending on your circumstances. If your lockdown started on a Friday you’ve had the weekend to get your head around it. So before you binge watch every episode of Tiger King here’s some tips to keep you feeling a little less stressed as an expectant mum.
Keep A Routine
As humans we thrive on routine and tend to experience more stress when our that routine is unexpectedly interrupted. At the moment even the most familiar habits (how you cough, avoiding touching your face, physical distancing) has most of us feeling a little stressed. Try to get up around the same time every day but if your usual workday involves an early commute you can definitely indulge yourself in a slightly later start. Keeping as many things as normal as possible helps create little ‘anchors’ throughout the day that gives you a sense of control as an expectant mum. Be sure to include afternoon naps and long baths to your new routine.
There’s lots of free and paid beginner antenatal yoga classes online. Walking is also great exercise in pregnancy and brilliant for clearing your head. It’ll help you reduce stress and stay healthy as you get closer to your due date.Eat Well
Stress sends your body in search of carbs so keep an eye on those frequent visits to the fridge. Keep a stash of healthy snacks at home as well as a few treats. Mindful eating will be really helpful right now for you and your partner if you want to avoid that ‘Corona Stone’. Whenever you find yourself heading towards the fridge ask yourself – ‘am I really hungry’? If the answer is no – then try to see what’s nudging you into the kitchen? Stress? Boredom? Eating that 3rd HobNob will only ease that feeling temporarily so see if you can find something to reduce your stress and/or boredom.
Facetime family and friends throughout the day but limit interactions with negative nellies – positive social support is essential. The Irish are great for the gallow’s humour so be a vector of comedy whenever you can. If you’re struggling emotionally contact your GP or Public Health Nurse.
Limit Social Media News And Shows
There’s a reason mobile phones are called pocket ‘slot machines’. Every time you pick it up to check social media your brain releases dopamine a reward chemical…which of course keeps you coming back for more! Even Facebook admits that mindless scrolling
through their feed can impact mood negatively. Turn your phone off and make a decision to only watch the news once or twice a day.
There’s a Baby on the Way!
This is a great time to take your antenatal class. Some GentleBirth Instructors are offering Zoom classes so you and your partner can check that off the list (parents also get access to an online breastfeeding class). Depending on your circumstances the GentleBirth self paced online class is another alternative. Once you’ve taken your class you and your partner can start putting together your birth preferences, your labour playlist and getting your bits into your labour bag. The GentleBirth private Facebook group is a pregnancy sanctuary of positive, uplifting reassuring support and information. You’ll have more time now to practice your hypnobirthing, meditations and breathing techiques too as well as finishing up some of your pregnancy books.
Be Gentle with Yourself
In our lives before Corona a lot of us suffered from time famine – we never had enough time… or so it seemed. Think seriously before making any ambitious plans to learn Japanese or any other ambitious projects. Try not to mindlessly fill up every moment just to be productive. This is an opportunity to slow down a little and put your feet up and connect with your baby. These are unchartered waters for all of us, be kind to yourself as we all navigate the changes together.
Free Book Download
With antenatal classes cancelled and delays getting books delivered, getting quality information about your options in Irish hospitals can be difficult right now. Tracy has made the popular Irish Better Birth Book freely available to download. You can down it here.