When you’re growing a tiny human inside you, it’s pretty natural for you to feel concerned about how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic can affect you and your unborn baby. Even though the correlation between the virus and pregnancy is still unclear, pregnant women are considered vulnerable to Covid-19 infection.
If you’re going through the pregnancy phase during the Coronavirus outbreak, don’t panic. Instead, you should know what you’re allowed to do and what you aren’t to keep both your physical and mental well-being in top shape. Here is everything you should do to keep you and your infant safe from Novel Coronavirus.
What is Novel Coronavirus?
According to the CDC, there are seven different types of Coronavirus. Also known as 2019-nCoV or COVID-19, Novel Coronavirus is a new strain of Coronavirus (SARS-COV-2) that is responsible for the ongoing pandemic. It causes flu-like symptoms in infected individuals and can lead to pneumonia, respiratory complications, multi-organ failure, and even death.
What Are the Symptoms of Novel Coronavirus?
Different people are affected by COVID-19 differently. The most common symptoms of 2019-nCoV are:
- A high-temperature fever
- Shortness of breath
- Dry or wet cough
Other less common symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Aches and pains
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- A rash on the skin
- Loss of taste or smell
- Discoloration of fingers or toes
Severe symptoms of Novel Coronavirus include:
- Chest pain or pressure
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Loss of speech or movement
Most of these symptoms develop within 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
Precautions to Take During Pandemic Pregnancy
Prevention is always better than cure. Follow the guidelines below to protect yourself and your baby from Novel Coronavirus during pregnancy:
- Use double masks when you go out to minimize the risk of inhaling infected droplets.
- After reaching back home, take a lukewarm shower and slip into clothes designed for pregnant women.
- Maintain a social distance of at least 3 feet while meeting someone.
- Wash your hands frequently for at least half a minute.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you cannot wash your hands.
- Stay away from sick people.
- Stick to a healthy pregnancy diet to keep your immunity up and tight.
- Go to non-covid-19 centers for tests, ultrasounds, and vaccinations.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid non-essential travel.
- Don’t touch frequently touched surfaces and objects.
- Prefer video consultation for a prenatal check-up.
How to Find Out If You Have COVID-19 Stress & Anxiety?
If you think you have a mental health disorder due to the pandemic, ask yourself these questions to confirm:
- Do you feel hopeless?
- Do you feel tired or lack energy?
- Did you notice a change in your appetite?
- Do you find it difficult to concentrate?
- Do you often experience prolonged, intense sadness?
- Are you consuming drugs or alcohol to lift your mood?
- Do you feel worthless or guilty?
- Have you lost interest in activities you used to enjoy before pregnancy?
- Is your mood off on most days?
- Are you experiencing thoughts of suicide or harming yourself?
- Do you avoid social situations?
You might be suffering from mental health issues if the answer to most of the above questions is yes.
Signs and Symptoms of Mental Illness
Pregnant women are already susceptible to mental health issues, and the new global pandemic has worsened the situation. The signs and symptoms of mental disorder you can face during pregnancy are:
- Thoughts of suicide
- Not being able to sleep and wanting to sleep
- Excessive anxiety about the pregnancy and delivery
- Feeling sad and hopeless most of the time
- Continuous lack of interest in doing the favorite things
- Changes in appetite drastically
- Crying a lot
- Lack of concentration
- Frequent mood swings
Some of the triggers that can lead to stress and anxiety in pregnant moms during the pandemic are:
- Trauma from widespread disease
- Lack of routine and discipline
- Stay-at-home mandates
- Reduced access to caregivers
- Constant exposure to negative news
- Worrying about catching the virus
- Stress and pain after the loss of a loved one
- Social withdrawal. Unprecedented physical distancing
- Hospitals banning or limiting the support persons
- Worrying when life will get back to normal
- Wondering when the pandemic will end
- Financial concerns, including unemployment and housing insecurity
- Worrying about a loved one getting infected with the virus
- Worrying about transmitting the virus to your infant before or after birth
- Lack of time for rest or relief due to caring for other young children
- Worrying about catching the virus during the hospital stay
Tips to Manage Pandemic Pregnancy Stress?
However, you can follow the stress-relieving tips and practices given below to ensure good mental well-being during the pandemic.
- Accept that this challenging time is for everyone.
- Limit your exposure to COVID-19 related news.
- Stick to a healthy pregnancy diet.
- Get at least 8-9 hours of sleep every night.
- Avoid alcohol, smoking, and unprescribed medical drugs.
- Get fresh air and soak up some sunshine every day.
- Join virtual support groups and forums.
- Stay positive, and keep yourself busy.
- Practice physical distancing instead of emotional distancing.
- Engage regularly in mindful movements, such as brisk walking and yoga. Dress in stretchable maternity yoga wear while practicing yoga.
- Join online antenatal classes.
- Pick up a new hobby or rediscover an old one.
- Read inspirational books and watch uplifting movies.
- Get online counseling to relieve depression, stress, and anxiety.
- Practice meditation and try relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, pranayama, and gentle stretching.