There are many expectant mothers around the world who experience challenges in managing their pregnancy and giving birth during the implementation of COVID health protocols and restrictions in many countries. Pregnant women faced being alone for baby scans, medical check-ups, and giving birth.
In this article, we will discuss the impact of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in pregnancy across many countries, several experiences of expectant mothers during the lockdown, and some ways to help you and other pregnant women in managing the so-called pandemic pregnancy in the midst of lockdown.
The Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown in Pregnancy and Childbirth
There appears to be a rise in anxiety, depressive or post-traumatic symptoms to develop in pregnant women. From the more common baby blues to more severe conditions such as anxiety and mood disorders, puerperal psychosis, and post-traumatic disorder, there has been found around 15% in anxiety symptoms while 10-22% experienced depressive symptoms.
Moreover, recent statistical reports on childbirth from Europe and the United States revealed an initial drop in births nine months after the COVID-19 pandemic started. For example, in Spain, 23,226 babies were born in December 2020, 20.4% fewer than December 2019, which appears to be the lowest monthly level of the country since comparable records started in 1941.
However, several Southeast Asian countries like the Philippines appear to have the opposite effect. The lockdown baby boom continues due to more than 100,000 women being unable to access birth control, leading to unplanned pregnancies. The University of the Philippines Population Institute and the United Nations Population Fund projected that there is an estimated more than 214,000 unplanned babies that will be born in 2022.
Different Types of Behavioral Responses and Challenges
There is a descriptive phenomenological study published recently concerning the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in pregnancy and childbirth for many women out there. Here are the different types of behavioral responses and challenges widely experienced by most of them:
- Intense stress
- Fear of infection
- Sense of loneliness and lack of support
- Depression and loneliness in quarantine
- Practical obsessions
- Change in nutrition
- Adhering to quarantine
- Adhering to sanitation and health protocols
- Following the news
- Problems in obtaining health products and lack of facilities
- Disruptions in receiving health-care
- Cancellation of childbirth preparation classes
Experiences of Expectant Mothers During Lockdown
Below are some statements from the mothers who had their baby during lockdown based on a UK news report:
“I find it hard for my mood because I felt quite overwhelmed, especially the long isolation time while having our first baby.”
“I wanted to give birth at home because of the virus but the doctors said I had to have the baby in the labour ward. Seeing the high numbers of deaths from all the other countries and having that on my mind and then going to the hospital where the virus can more likely be contracted was a scary thought for me.” – Naomi
“I was 5 months pregnant when the pandemic hit. I felt really lonely. I had a little cry. But then I thought about all the other women who were going to be pregnant in the pandemic and I thought my pregnancy would be fine. What worried me most was being in the hospital and potentially getting coronavirus.”
Simple Ways to Manage Pandemic Pregnancy
Actually, there is a bright side to having pregnancy in a pandemic lockdown despite the problems many of us are facing. Some of the reasons are the uncomfortable experience of morning sickness that pregnant women could do in their homes, as well as sleeping in and getting weekday naps due to pregnancy exhaustion. But what are the simple ways to manage pandemic pregnancy in lockdown? Read the information below:
- Practice simple mindfulness techniques like a breathing exercise.
- Eat foods rich in zinc, Vitamin C, iron, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, and Vitamin B6 such as lean meats, whole grains, beans, kale, oranges, strawberries, tomatoes, lentils, spinach, tofu, nuts, seeds, sweet potatoes, carrots, tuna, etc.
- Get adequate sleep of around 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night.
- Use various social media apps like Skype, FaceTime, Viber, Messenger, and many others to see and talk with your family members or friends regularly. Share your concerns with them.
- Play video games that involve light exercise.
- Read some books you have wanted to read.
- Join WhatsApp online counseling group for pregnant women, created by professional midwives from health centers and several faculty members.
- Participate in virtual childbirth-preparation classes.
Although many pregnant women around the world have been experiencing different kinds of difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, considering the worthwhile and simple ways in managing pandemic pregnancy mentioned in this article is a great method that will guide you in your pregnancy and childbirth journey.