In this two-part series, I explore the unique challenges of pregnancy and childbirth amid COVID-19 and how women can prioritize their mental health at this difficult time.
Pregnancy and childbirth are challenging under normal circumstances, but especially right now as shifting healthcare policies and social distancing measures have turned even the most routine checkup into anything but, well…routine.
Add on the weight of job losses or salary cutbacks and fears around getting sick and it’s understandable why there are heightened concerns around mental health in the prenatal community.
WHAT’S CHANGED FOR PREGNANT WOMEN DURING COVID?
There are many things out of the ordinary right now, but the most obvious changes for expectant mothers are logistical.
Hospitals and clinics have adapted their policies to fit the pandemic, including limiting the number of people allowed during prenatal visits and inside the delivery room. Doctors and midwives have, in some cases, been asking their patients to skip routine check-ups or replace them with virtual appointments to minimize contact.
When it comes to blood tests, ultrasounds and other appointments that can’t be done via tele-medicine, women are likely to face enhanced health and safety measures at their clinic(s) — including restrictions around their movement and mandatory masks — that are beyond what they’d experience under normal circumstances.
WHAT IMPACTS CAN ALL THIS HAVE ON MENTAL HEALTH?
We’re living through a time of great uncertainty when emotions are running high. Put pregnancy on top of that and the mental health toll can be significant for expectant mothers.
COPING AMID COVID
Below are some strategies you may find effective if you or a pregnant loved one are struggling to cope amid COVID-19.
This is a challenging time to be pregnant and it’s necessary to treat your mental health as importantly as your physical health. If you find yourself struggling right now, consider the above strategies and always reach out if you need additional support.
Covid-19 and Your Mental Health: FAQS
7 Tips for Coping with Coronavirus Anxiety
The Underexplored Issue of Postpartum Anxiety
Baby Blues or Something More?
Surviving Motherhood: 5 Tips To Help Avoid Burnout
Lindsay Ross, MSW RSW, is a clinical social worker in private practice in Toronto, Ontario.