Coping as an expectant parent during a pandemic
While the coronavirus continues to affect everyday life, thousands of expectant parents across Australia are having to adjust to managing a pregnancy during a pandemic.
Here, we look at some potential challenges they may be facing and offer ways to get through this testing time.
Acknowledging the challenges
According to Mitzi Paderes, National Helpline and Programs Manager at PANDA, there are many ways the pandemic could be directly impacting the lives of expectant parents.
“They may have suffered a job loss, for example. This could have a significant impact and place a huge strain given there’s a baby on the way. For others, feelings of sadness and disappointment will come out of not being able to share their pregnancy (in person) with loved ones,” says Paderes.
It’s also understandable, and normal, for there to be a heightened sense of anxiety about the health of the unborn child and mother-to-be.
“In order to limit face-to-face contact, prenatal medical appointments have been spaced out. They’ve also been prioritised for those who are particularly vulnerable or have complicated pregnancies,” explains Paderes.
“We all thrive on human connection and reassurance, particularly when it comes to pregnancy. An element of that has gone with the absence of face-to-face appointments and scans.”
Paderes acknowledges that the current situation is tough on expectant parents, particularly those who already experience a mental health condition.
“Some expectant mums are having to measure their own bump, and while that can be an empowering exercise for some, it can be daunting for others. Worrying about whether they’ve measured themselves correctly has the potential to be provoke anxiety for some people,” says Paderes.
She emphasises the importance of being open about how you feel and asking for what you need. Whether it’s face-to-face, via video conference or over the phone, communicate with your GP, obstetrician or midwife if you have any concerns or need reassurance about how you are feeling physically or mentally.
Ways to cope
It’s natural to be feeling anxious, unsettled or stressed right now. There are things you can do to support your mental health as an expectant parent during this time.
- Be kind to yourself. And be kind to your partner if you have one. Try to remember that this uncertain time will pass and soon you will have a newborn to welcome and celebrate.
- Stay well-informed but avoid overloading yourself. Be mindful of what you’re reading and watching and try to include positive content.
- Stay at home but stay connected with family, friends and colleagues. If possible, sharing what you’re experiencing with others parents-to-be can help you feel less alone and will allow you to exchange useful advice.
- Focus on the things you can control. Such as eating healthily, trying to get enough sleep and making sure you take care of yourself on a daily basis. Practicing mindfulness can help you feel calm and connected.
- Seek support. If you’re concerned about your mental health, don’t hesitate to contact your GP, midwife or a health professional. If you’re simply unsure if how you’re feeling is a common part of pregnancy, get a better sense with our mental health checklists for mums and dads.
For useful information about pregnancy and the coronavirus, check out this guide by Raising Children Network.
For PANDA’s National Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Helpline call: 1300 26 306 (9am-7.30pm Mon – Fri (AEST/AEDT) or visit the PANDA website.
This content is proudly funded by one of Beyond Blue’s Major Partners, Future Generation Global Investment Company.