Siobhan Miller, founder of The Positive Birth Company
Remain calm and relaxed
It’s vital during such uncertain times to find ways to remain calm and relaxed. Whether it’s reading a book, taking a bath or practising mediation, taking time out each day to unwind and give your mind and body the rest it needs during this stressful period will go a long way in helping reduce any anxiety you may be experiencing.
Eat well and exercise
During the enforced lockdown, it’s important to keep yourself and your baby healthy and well. Eliminating foods that have been influenced by hormones, pesticides, added preservatives and chemicals and avoiding foods that are rich in sugar will go some way to helping you feel better in yourself. Exercising, whether it’s yoga practice or a home workout that’s safe for you to do, or even a walk outside when you can, will leave you feeling brighter and happier thanks to the endorphins you release when moving your body. Regular exercise has been proven to boost circulation to your reproductive organs and your immune system, and helps you maintain a healthy body and mind.
Stay safe and follow the guidelines
It’s important to ensure you regularly wash your hands for 20 seconds in line with the government advice and avoid touching your face. If you need to go out for essentials or if you’re a key worker, ensure you’re following the recommendations for social-distancing, otherwise self-isolate at home as far as possible. When you need to travel to hospital for an appointment or for anything else, avoid public transport if you can.
Utilise online resources
With a lockdown in place and antenatal and postnatal classes and baby groups cancelled, online courses and live Q&As are a great way to access the same level of support but from the comfort of your own home. For example, The Positive Birth Company’s online hypnobirthing course (the ‘Digital Pack’) can easily be completed at home and is a comprehensive program of antenatal education, which teaches women about how their body is designed to work perfectly in birth from a physiological and psychological perspective. It also equips them with relaxation tools and techniques that facilitate a quicker, easier and more comfortable birth, and helps them to understand why it is important to remain calm and relaxed and how best to achieve this, even when things don’t go to plan. These tools can be used at any point in life to reduce anxiety, stress and panic.
Social media can also be a great way of accessing expert advice and guidance. For example, this week (30th March-3rd April) The Positive Birth Company are hosting an ‘Ask the Expert’ series of live Q&As on Instagram, to connect women with experts such as midwives and qualified breastfeeding practitioners, and provide them with the information and support they need.
Consider a home birth
The NHS is under a huge amount of strain already and this is only set to increase, reducing the ratio of medical professionals available in hospitals to support patients and birthing mothers. Opting for a home birth (where this is an option) can help to alleviate some worry for expectant mums, especially those who might be concerned about no beds or midwives being available in hospital or their birth partner not being allowed to come in. Being at home means you have more control over your environment and who is there with you, and also enables you to limit how many people are coming into contact with your new-born.
Use a virtual birth partner
With many women being advised that their partners are no longer able to be present at the birth due to the coronavirus, a virtual birth partner app can be a great resource and ensure you don’t feel like you’re going it alone.
The Positive Birth Company’s Freya app will coach you through each surge with a simple breathing technique and then play guided meditations, positive affirmations and relaxing music in between to keep you calm and relaxed. The app will also keep track of your progress and even let you know when it’s time to call a midwife. The app can be used in pregnancy and the lead up to birth as a meditation tool.
Connect with other mums online
With the internet at our finger tips, it has never been easier to talk to other mums-to-be or new mums around the world. Connecting with others who are in the same situation as you will help you feel less alone and also provide you with some welcome advice and reassurance. We recommend joining The Positive Birth Company’s Bump Clubs on Facebook, these are free groups where you can connect with other women, share advice, receive support and read tons of inspiring and positive birth stories.