How to Practice Mindfulness When You Are Pregnant During a Pandemic
Now more than ever, expectant mothers will be feeling overwhelmed and anxious, especially as their birth plans may need to change due to coronavirus. Navigating and adapting to a rapidly changing situation while trying to maintain a relaxed and mindful pregnancy can feel daunting. However, all expectant mothers should know that no matter what, their midwife will be there for them as they would be at any other time and nothing will affect their midwife and birth teams’ skills, experience and dedication to looking after them and their baby. They will be well cared for, fully supported and safe.
To help mothers truly practice mindfulness and lessen their anxiety during pregnancy, we have caught up with midwife, hypno-birthing expert and author, Marie Louise (aka The Modern Midwife), one of the team of experts at Biamother, who offers her expert advice on how to stay calm in the lead up to labour, despite the current pandemic.
Get Prepared: During pregnancy, it is particularly important that you try to do as much as you can to prepare your mind for birth. Take this enforced down time as an opportunity to really focus on yourself and your bond with your baby. If you are unsure about the best way to do this, don’t panic. Within the Biamother app, there is a dedicated ‘BiaBreathe’ section offering a host of meditations to block out outside stressors and allow you to go within.
Practice Mindfulness Exercises: When we remain in a heightened state of awareness, our bodies are surviving rather than thriving. Restoration and down time help the body to perform at its best. The little things we can do daily make a big difference to our overall mental health. So, if you suddenly find yourself feeling anxious, drop your shoulders, take a few slow deep breaths, make the out breath longer than the in breath. Pay attention to what’s going on in your body, your breath and your mind. Though this might not be the exercises you are used to, being in tune with your body can lead to a better mindset and, subsequently, a more positive birth experience.
Use Resources That Are Available: It is tough not being able to attend antenatal classes as you had planned, especially if this is your first baby. However, there is still a lot that you can do to stay informed, which in turn leads to confidence and a more positive mindset. Use trusted resources like the Biamother app, which is a holistic wellness platform where you will find qualified professionals with years of experience offering a wide range of support. Biamother is the world’s first app that cares for new mums, and during the current global pandemic, it is especially focused on ensuring that pregnant and postnatal women isolating at home can still access expert guidance. Designed by a team of maternal health experts, all women and mostly mothers, Biamother offers guidance and recommendations to help you eat, move and feel better, as well as personalised workouts you can do at home that adapt to suit your changing needs, body type and concerns.
Having a high level of support and feeling well-informed, alongside practising daily breathing and exercise routines, is the recipe to feeling calm and in control.
It’s Not All That Bad: Something else that may worry you is the fact that whilst self-isolation is advised, you may not have the support you originally planned for in your first weeks after birth. Fear not, as I have always recommended that women stay at home with their baby and their partner for at least the first two weeks after birth anyway. Limiting visitors is always a good idea because you need time to recover, sleep, ignore housework and avoid being the host.
During quarantine, it doesn’t matter if you don’t make it out of your dressing gown, have greasy hair or dirty dishes. Newborn babies don’t like being passed from person to person in those early weeks either, it can be unsettling and over stimulating for them. Instead, they need to get used to life outside the womb, their new environment and to be close to the voices, people and smells they recognise. Take this extra time at home together as time to settle in with your new family.
We are so lucky to be living in this digital age, with so many opportunities to connect from afar. Whether that’s WhatsApp, Mush Mums, Mums Anywhere, Facetime, Zoom or House Party, there are so many platforms now that can help you keep in contact and get support when you need it, whilst still in your pyjamas!
Give Yourself a Break: This is a difficult time for us all, but remember that you have grown a beautiful baby from just two cells in only 10 months. You are a miracle and your body is phenomenal. It knows what it is doing regardless of what is going on in the world. Your body has inbuilt intelligence that has been evolving over millions of years and Covid-19 doesn’t have the power to take that away. Get ready for what will be an incredible journey.
For more pregnancy tips and expert advice, you can download the Biamother app here, and enjoy a 14-day free trial.