In this series, we share stories from different mums and dads-to-be about their experience of pregnancy, birth and parenthood in the pandemic. Here Priya tells us how her anxiety increased because of COVID19, how she looked after herself and her tips and advice for other mums-to-be.
I’ve never been anxious but, during my pregnancy, my anxiety skyrocketed purely because of the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. I managed to control it by taking up hypnobirthing; it has been my savior. And also having Lou, my NCT teacher - being able to ask questions and feel reassured by her is such a relief.
Priya's tips for pregnancy in a pandemic
Being pregnant is an amazing experience but there are difficult times too so having a positive mindset helps. My other tips are:
Find a community
It's great to have a community of mothers and parents who are expecting a baby too so join forums and share what you're going through. There's no right or wrong way on the journey you experience.
Do NCT classes
You learn so much and you're in a group of parents-to-be in and around your area who are expecting babies around the same month. The WhatsApp group is amazing, sharing stories, what can help and having the teacher on there makes it more reassuring too.
Even though the classes were on Zoom, it still made a massive impact on me and NCT has been a good support system for me. The guidance during COVID19 has been incredible. The breastfeeding class was amazing too. I had no idea about latching, baby's feeding position or how to feed using a bottle properly.
Pregnancy is tough, and it can make you feel alone, but after a call with my NCT teacher, I felt light as rain! I will also call NCT’s Infant Feeding Support line if I need to when my baby’s born.
Look after yourself
I've been exercising a lot using a birthing ball and walking to keep fit. I also eat healthily - with the odd binge on junk food here and there. My cravings are immense, so sometimes I do cave in! I have taken up self-care - I do mini pamper sessions of facial steaming and face masks. I take good care of my bump and my skin as it’s always changing. Remember this pregnancy is about you, so take care of yourself as best as you can.
Advice for partners
Be there for your pregnant partner. Treat her like the goddess she is. Read the books as it does massively help. Do some research, be prepared and always use the BRAIN (benefits, risks, alternatives, intuition and do nothing) way of thinking through a situation. I can’t recommend it enough.
Go with the flow
I was worried that my birth plan would have to change because of COVID. But, thankfully, after having my 38-week appointment and speaking to the midwife, I can have the birth that I want. As with anything in life, if something doesn't go your way, it’s important to be open-minded and go with the flow.
Talk to your midwife and ask questions. Don't think of it being silly, because no question is silly. Always talk to someone about how you’re feeling, don't hold it in. If you can't talk to your partner, try someone at NCT, your friends, your parents. There’s lots of support available so make the most of it.
Strangely, because of COVID-19, I've been able to enjoy my pregnancy, relax a lot more and make time for learning new things and nesting. I'm looking forward to giving birth and meeting my baby now.
If you'd like to share your story of pregnancy, birth or parenting in the pandemic, we'd love to hear from you. Get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Our support line offers practical and emotional support with feeding your baby and general enquiries for parents, members and volunteers: 0300 330 0700.
Interactive, engaging and social, our live online antenatal course is a great way for you to meet other local parents, and get essential unbiased information and knowledge about pregnancy, birth and early days with your baby.
Read the NHS stay at home advice.
The NHS website has a specific pregnancy and coronavirus page, which has all the latest information and guidance about support services.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Royal College of Midwives and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health have produced information on coronavirus for pregnant women and their families.
The Department of Health and Social Care website is being updated daily with guidance and what the government is doing about the virus.
For more information about coronavirus in various languages see here.