Social distancing and lockdown measures are stressful for everyone recently impacted by COVID-19. However, expectant mothers are facing several unique challenges and worries. There are numerous unknown variables at this time, and when combined with feelings of isolation, many mothers-to-be are feeling anxious.
What the Research Says
Perhaps one of the most effective ways to curb anxiety during this time is to stay informed, relying on credible sources — all while limiting your intake of ongoing news. To date, available data is limited. Here is what researchers have discovered thus far.
COVID-19 infection during pregnancy
A recent study looked at a total of nine studies, including 101 infected pregnant women. The most common symptoms included fever (66.7%), cough (39.4%), fatigue (15.2%), and breathing difficulties (14.1%). In addition, 83.9% of infected women gave birth via a C-section, 30.4% of births were delivered preterm, and 17.9% of babies had a low birth weight.
Transmission to fetus
While some viruses can be passed from mother to fetus in utero, including rubella, measles, and Zika, respiratory viruses, in general, are not. Based on this study, of the 33 infants born to mothers with COVID-19 in China, three tested positive following birth. While the researchers believe that these cases were likely maternal in origin, no conclusions have been made at this time.
Bottom line: While there are concerns surrounding the immune systems of pregnant women, to date, all pregnant women infected with COVID-19 have survived. Most infected women experience symptoms similar to the common cold. However, more research is needed to better understand the full implications of COVID-19 for pregnant women and their babies. Stay informed, sourcing your information from trusted sources.
How to Combat Feelings of Anxiety During Your Pregnancy
For many expectant mothers, COVID-19 has eliminated the option to host a baby shower, have family members with them at key appointments, and has left many feeling overwhelmed during a time when they need their friends and family most.
In order to better manage growing feelings of anxiety remember to:
- Avoid constant news updates. Although it is imperative that you remain up-to-date with the latest official guidelines for pregnant during the pandemic, feeding into the latest updates on social media will only feed feelings of anxiety. Make it a habit to check into the latest recommendations once each morning, focusing your attention on more productive matters throughout the rest of the day.
- Practice mindfulness to bring yourself back to the present moment. These are unprecedented times, so it’s easy to think about the “what ifs.” While this is a normal response, it’s important that you focus on what you’re feeling and what is occurring now. This will help you identify what you can and cannot control.
- Welcome virtual connections into your everyday routine. Whether you schedule face-to-cate chats with your mom, sibling, friend, or co-worker, discussing your pregnancy experiences with those you love is important — both for you and them. If you are feeling anxious, speak to someone you trust so that they can assist you in getting the help you need.
At the end of the day, although the current pandemic is frightening, it will pass. The actions you take now could make all the difference in terms of your future health, as well as the health of your baby. Continue to practice social distancing and make self-care your top priority.
Speak to your doctor about any available classes that will help ease your anxiety surrounding childbirth and if you’re struggling with your mental health, please do not hesitate to seek online therapy. You’re not in this alone.
Read more COVID-19-related resources here.
You can also check out the following pregnancy resources for further support:
- Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists — Coronavirus Infection and Pregnancy
- Michigan Health — 12 Things to Know About COVID-19 and Pregnancy
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, and Caring for Young Children
- Unicef — Navigating Pregnancy During the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic