I know you’re scared and frustrated. I am, too. We’ve never seen anything like the COVID-19 pandemic in our lifetime.
Being pregnant during difficult times enhances your fears. You’re worried about your health and your baby’s health. You’re fearful for loved ones who are already fragile. You’re wondering how your finances are going to weather the unknown. And seriously, you’re not sure how you are going to spend another day confined to your home, let alone weeks!
Those pregnancy hormones aren’t helping either. During pregnancy and in the postpartum period, our emotions are just under the surface. Global crisis can invoke deep fear and sadness or high levels of stress that affect our day to day life.
Your soaring stress levels are a normal response to what’s going on in the world right now, but they can have a negative impact on your mental and physical health. Stress management and self care are more important now than ever before.
How to Reduce Stress About COVID-19 During Pregnancy
Recognize Your Stress Symptoms
Stress is part of life. It’s a normal response to both positive and negative changes. The first step to reducing stress is to recognize it. Since learning about the recent COVID-19 outbreak, you may be noticing:
- feelings of sadness, irritability, anger, confusion
- your ability to concentrate has decreased
- you’re having difficulty communicating effectively
- your productivity levels are down
- body pain such as headaches or muscle spasm
- feelings of tension in your body, like jaw clenching, teeth grinding, and tension headaches
- trouble sleeping
While many of these symptoms are also normal pregnancy occurrences (baby brain, anyone?), they could be a sign that your stress levels need to be actively managed.
Reduce Your Exposure + Practice Self Care
While you can’t always shut off social media and the news, you can maintain a sense of balance. It’s important to maintain your routines (as possible) and seek stress relief if you are experiencing emotional anguish as a result of disaster media.
WHILE YOU CAN’T ALWAYS SHUT OFF SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE NEWS, YOU CAN MAINTAIN A SENSE OF BALANCE.
Maintain balance by putting down your phone and going for a walk (outside is totally not canceled), practicing yoga (many online yoga programs are offering free classes and some local studios are broadcasting classes live online), listening to music that you enjoy, taking a bath, or anything else that you find useful for releasing stress. Find a friend you can Facetime and talk about how you are feeling because sharing your experience can help you to process it. Call your doula for a heart to heart. Speaking with a counselor may be helpful. Take the time to be grateful and meditate on the good things in your life. Making sure that you are getting enough rest can also decrease your stress levels (easier said than done if insomnia is a symptom of pregnancy and/or stress for you).
Seek Professional Help to Manage COVID-19 Stress
If you just can’t seem to shake your uneasy feelings, then it’s time to talk to a professional. Many mental health practitioners are offering virtual services and can meet with you by phone or video. Ask your doctor or midwife for a referral!