Pregnancy anxiety and COVID is something we need to be paying more attention to. Pregnancy is a time where many women experience increased anxiety, but now that COVID is part of our lives, more and more people are suffering from anxiety and depression.
Fears of the unknown is a huge component of pregnancy anxiety because there are so many aspects that are unknown, especially to first-timers.
There’s the pregnancy itself and how it might unfold; how it will feel physically and emotionally, whether there will be complications or health issues that arise.
Understandably there are also worries around the birth itself and this is the aspect that I’ve focussed on in my work. But what is not always discussed are the fears and anxieties around the post-birth period: postpartum and beyond.
- What if I get post-natal depression?
- Will I bond with my baby?
- How will my recovery from the birth be? Will it be OK?
- Am I going to be able to breastfeed?
- Will I be a good mother?
- How will my relationship change? Will we cope?
- What about me? What becomes of me and how I see myself?
This is just a quick peek at the kind of things that can create anxiety during pregnancy but now there is a new kid on the block: COVID. And while COVID is adding an extra layer of anxiety to all of us, there are some aspects about these COVID times that are particularly worrying for those who are pregnant.
Pregnancy anxiety and COVID
Here are some of the ways that COVID is adding to anxiety levels during pregnancy
Pregnancy health check-ups
Check-ups and midwife appointments during pregnancy are now reduced with some even happening over the phone. Those check-ups that are happening might need to happen without the presence of partners, which can make it very difficult if important news is shared or health-care decisions are required. All of this can mean that some feel less supported and more alone during pregnancy.
Reduced emotional support during the birth
Some hospitals are limiting the number of birth companions during the birth. This means that partners, parents, friends or doulas can no longer be present to support them during the birth.
No more home births
There have been some areas in the world where home births have been put on hold. This is forcing women to birth in hospitals or maternity centres which might not be something that they want. An important choice has been taken away from them at a time when it’s important for them to feel in a supportive environment.
If the hospital policy is to minimise birth companions present, then this can further add to a restriction of choice for them.
Wearing masks during labour and delivery
We are hearing stories about women having to wear masks during labour. To have to wear a mask for such a physically and emotionally demanding event is nothing short of horrifying and will have a huge impact. Not only on the birth experience but also post-birth if the birth was experienced as traumatic as a result.
Catching COVID while pregnant
Many women have expressed how worried they are about catching COVID while pregnant and what that might mean for the pregnancy and their baby.
Uncertainty of the future
I think we’re all feeling a huge sense of uncertainty about the future because of COVID and this is particularly so for those who are pregnant. Important questions are bing asked for which we don’t have answers for;
- What will be the impact of me not being able to take my baby to toddler groups or activity sessions?
- How will my child learn to socialise with social distancing measures in place?
- What will that first few years of being a parent be like?
COVID is now adding a huge component to pregnancy anxiety that means that many families will need additional support. Not only does COVID bring new anxieties but it has the potential to exacerbate anxieties that are already present.
Are you pregnant and feeling anxious because of COVID?
I’m currently adding COVID resources to my Fearless Birthing program. If you’ve bought the program, you will automatically receive these when they are ready.
Fearless Birthing is my online course that will help you to prepare emotionally and mentally for pregnancy, birth and motherhood. It shows you how to clear your fears and anxieties using Head Trash Clearance so that you can feel calm and confident about pregnancy, birth and motherhood. It’s for those who are thinking about planning for a family and for those who are pregnant.
Here’s what Sarah has said about using it to help her better cope during her pregnancy anxiety and COVID;
I’m a licensed psychotherapist specializing in trauma and have had experiences with mindfulness work, Havening, EFT, EMDR, and sensorimotor psychotherapy. And yet, the head trash clearance work is just HITTING THE SPOT right now.
What with being 8 months pregnant and COVID happening (and so much uncertainty introduced into the picture).
It’s just… working. I mean, really, really working.
Compared to other methods, I so love I can just do it myself. I’ve noticed how much clearer I feel in general despite lots of stressors (including my husband’s sudden job loss with the pandemic, a rambunctious 3yo now stuck at home with us, sheltering-in-place happening, all of it).
Really can’t thank you enough and instead of dreading all the unknowns around my second baby’s birth I’m starting to feel excited (!!!) and most importantly, feel so much more equipped.
Find out more about Fearless Birthing here.