Preparing for giving birth is already something you worry about, but preparing for giving birth during a pandemic is much more stressful. Will I have to give birth alone? Will me and my baby get the virus from spending time in the hospital? Will I be able to breastfeed if I end up getting the virus? These and many more questions might be what is making you stress out more than usual. But try to relax and focus on the positive. Those of us who will give birth during this pandemic should maybe consider ourselves lucky because only a handful of people will be able to say they had a baby during the coronavirus outbreak. I had my baby just a few days before they announced in the city I live in that we should begin social distancing. For me, this meant that no one could come see the baby when I got home, and most of my family still hasn’t even met her. Because of this, my experience will be different than yours, but I can still help you prepare mentally and physically for your unique experience.
Preparing mentally before birth
Because places everywhere are in lockdown from coronavirus, your experience at the hospital might not go as you always hoped. Hospital staff is trying to limit the number of people who come to the hospital so visitors are likely a no-no. If your significant other has a fever or any signs of the virus, it is probable that you might have to give birth without your loved one. However, the nurses in the hospital are amazing at comforting and coaching you through birth (at least mine were). Although giving birth without your loved one seems like the worst thing that could happen, just remember that policies are in place for the protection of you and your baby. And when you go home, it is ultimately your decision who you let see the baby. But you can be sure that while you’re in the hospital the medical staff is doing everything they can to keep you and your baby safe from potential COVID-19 patients who will be isolated from healthy patients.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you may also spend less time in the hospital (you and your baby’s health permitting) so that there is less of a risk that you and your baby are exposed to the virus.
Preparing physically before birth
It is harder to workout from home if you don’t have all the supplies you need. But if you have a Chirp Wheel+ you can utilize it to help you with ab workouts, yoga, simple stretching, and so much more. Check out our other blog posts for ideas to work out from home with the Chirp Wheel+. It is important to prepare yourself for giving birth. Because I pushed for an hour when I gave birth, I wish I had done more to build my endurance for the pushing phase of labor. The Chirp Wheel+ can help with that as you spend time rolling on it each day and can help you to open up your hips in preparation for labor. If you’re waiting for your wheel to arrive, even walking around your house or outside while maintaining social distancing can help you prepare for labor.
How to care for you and your baby after birth
When you arrive home, it will just be you and your new family. The hard part of this during social distancing is that you have less help and less sleep. Try to take turns with your partner and let the other person get sleep. Or if you are a single parent, let someone you trust (who is healthy and who will take precautions) come over and give you a break from your baby. Even during social distancing it is better to take good care of yourself and your baby with the help of someone you trust rather than neglect your health and the baby’s health. It is hard to adjust to newborn life, but try to focus on the fact that the hardest part will be over in just a few short weeks.
After having a baby, the doctor usually recommends that you go on walks. It is hard to do that while social distancing if you live in a population dense area, but it is possible. Even if you walk back and forth in your house, you can get the exercise you need to start your recovery. If you gave birth naturally, use the Chirp Wheel+ to stretch before and after your walk. It is safe and will feel like a breath of fresh air.
Drink a lot of water and breastfeed your baby frequently. This can help you and your baby stay protected from the virus. According to the CDC, breast milk can protect your baby against many illnesses and even people who tested positive for COVID-19 can breastfeed as long as they wear a facemask and wash their hands frequently.
Take heart. There are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of other women who have made it through this hard time. I did it and you can too. When you feel alone at home with your baby separated from the support of other mothers and family, remember that me and thousands of other women are trying to take care of our babies too. Be grateful that we live in a time when we can talk to and FaceTime our loved ones with the click of a button. You’re not alone. We are just physically separated for the time being.
CDC. (2020, April 13). Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/pregnancy-breastfeeding.html
Farid, H. (2020, April 2). Pregnant and worried about the new coronavirus? Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/pregnant-and-worried-about-the-new-coronavirus-2020031619212#q6
Hohman, M. (2020, April 14). Should you delay becoming pregnant during coronavirus pandemic? Experts share advice. Retrieved from https://www.today.com/health/should-i-delay-getting-pregnant-because-coronavirus-t178211