iCandy recently caught up with Megan Rossiter, founder of birth-ed and ante-natal and hypnobirthing specialist. She took over the iCandy Instagram to answer questions on how to manage pregnancy or life with a newborn during the COVID-19 outbreak. All the information Megan shared around coronavirus came from the RCOG (Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists) and the RCM (Royal College of Midwives). Everything else is her own hints and tips on how to stay calm, positive and safe.
Self-care tips during lockdown
Start with what you’ve always done and enjoy doing- whether it is running a warm bath, watching a funny film or going for a walk. Start with the things you already know you enjoy doing. Get your body moving to produce feel-good hormones, endorphins. You don’t suddenly have to take up pregnancy yoga or do live workouts. If you can get outside, this is good to clear your mind. Seeing the colour green is good for your mental health, even if you just look out your window at the trees outside.
There are also a lot of apps such as @headspace, @calm and @expectful which have specific meditation and relaxations for pregnant women and mums. If you haven’t already considered it then hypnobirthing is a helpful thing to start practising. So much of it is about releasing fear, anxiety and stress, whether that’s from gaining knowledge and information or whether its practising breathing techniques, guided relaxations and advice.
Cancelled antenatal classes due to COVID-19?
Antenatal classes are important for gathering information, understanding our choices for our birth and understanding what our body and babies need. There is also the social aspect too and the opportunity to meet other parents-to-be. At @birth-ed we offer an online antenatal and hypnobirthing course. You get all the information surrounding your birth choices and pain relief options. It also includes guided meditation and breathing techniques. Don’t miss out on antenatal education just because your classes have been cancelled. Some companies are now doing this online and over Skype. The NHS are so stretched now that they can’t offer the programmes but there are lots of affordable programmes online. At @birth-ed ours is just £40 which is hopefully affordable for everyone, but if it isn’t please get in touch. We don’t want anyone to miss out on information that they really need to know at this time.
I’m anxious about being due at the height of the coronavirus pandemic
There’s a really good affirmation that we use with hypnobirthing, “I control what I can, I let go of what I can’t”. Midwives are very good at keeping you calm, relaxed and safe. There might be changes to your birth plan, but there is still so much that we can control. It’s just about learning what you can control. Babies are born the same way they were thousands of years ago.
I’m a nanny and I’m pregnant-should I go to the shops?
All I can comment on is from the guidance we have from Public Health England and the NHS regarding social distancing. Everybody should be doing this now and only going out foe essential trips to the supermarket or chemist. The same goes for pregnancy. If you can get somebody else to do the shopping for you, then do this. Minimise your trips. Follow the guidelines that have already bee shared, i.e. washing hands etc. If you can’t avoid the shops, then try to minimise the time spent there.
Guidance for parents with newborn babies during lockdown
The best advice we have at the moment is to follow the social distancing guidelines that everyone should be doing in the UK. Avoid social contact and busy places. Use this time to bond with your baby. Use this opportunity to really get to know your baby and take it really slowly. We feel like we are supposed to get into day to day life way sooner than we are ready to. There’s no pressure to get out and do anything. You can sleep all day and wake all night if you want to. Hopefully a little bit of it is going to be a blessing in disguise. Try to connect with other parents and friends online. Keep yourself mentally well. Keep talking with whoever you are co-parenting with or whoever is on the end of the phone. Its going to be difficult but you aren’t alone- a lot of people area in the same boat.
General anxiety during COVID-19 pandemic
This is a weird anxious time for everyone, this isn’t just because you are pregnant. Everyone is feeling on edge. Research into COVID-19 and pregnancy doesn’t suggest that you are more at risk of catching it. The evidence that we do have doesn’t suggest it can be passed onto baby whilst baby is inside. Its better to be safe and just keep everyone as isolated as we can. Hopefully some of the self-care tips I shared before will be useful and try to fill your day.
If you missed the Q&A session then check out iCandy’s Instagram highlights for the full session. Always speak to your midwife if you have any questions or concerns.