COVID-19: Expert advice on becoming a mother during a global pandemic

Becoming a parent is an important time for anyone, but having a baby in the midst of a global pandemic is sure to raise questions for any woman, so we asked midwife Pip Morrish to share her expert advice on becoming a mother in 2020!

Hi, I’m Pip – a midwife, passionate about supporting mamas to be, especially during 2020 and this global pandemic! Medela has asked me to share my top tips for taking care of yourself before baby comes, and your motherhood journey starts!

Tip 1: Get daily headspace

Pregnancy is often an anxiety provoking time, add to that the uncertainties of Coronavirus and the need for self care and headspace is even more prominent. This does not necessarily mean meditating rituals, unless of course that is your thing! Your daily dose of headspace can be as simple as thinking of 3 things you’re grateful for when you wake up, going out for a walk and embracing the fresh air on your face, taking 10 deep long breaths or singing at the top of your lungs in the shower. Find what works for you and schedule that in as a priority - this is not self-indulgent, it is necessary self-care.

 

Tip 2: Cull your social media

Does what you are looking at spark negative emotions or self-comparison? If so- unfollow. There is nothing wrong with being inspired by social media and influences but make sure your feed is balanced with realistic, honest people and not perfectly edited squares of perceived ‘perfection’. Social media can be a great way of getting information but ensure any that you take from social media is from a registered professional and is evidence-based.

Tip 3: Build your postpartum support army

Motherhood was never meant to be done alone. Consider who you know will be there to support you. Accept help- say yes! Let a meal be prepared for you or the hoovering be done by someone else. And more than that if help isn’t offered then ask for it - trust me there are plenty of people very willing and wanting to help but worried to ask you. You need not do it alone. In the current climate we are learning more than ever that support can also be virtual- connect with your loved ones through technology where physical contact is restricted and always remember there are millions of women going through the same challenges with you.

 

Tip 4: Prepare for your postpartum self-care

I recommend doing this when you write down your birth preferences. Let’s be real- the immediate postpartum period can be tough- your recovering, your sleep deprived and your navigating this whole new, exciting but also daunting journey of parenthood. So, think about what will help you to manage the challenges and cherish the special moments. Remember that your body has grown, nurtured and birthed a whole new human being so taking time to care for yourself in the postpartum is a necessity to your recovery and your wellbeing. Good nutrition is a great way to support your physical and mental health in the postpartum so if you can batch cook before your baby’s arrival and stock the freezer or sign up to a healthy meal prep delivery service to take the pressure off in those first few days and weeks it can be very helpful.

 

Tip 5: Don’t listen to the news more than once per day

Some days it feels like the news and current situation with Coronavirus changes as much as the English weather! It can be confusing to navigate and anxiety provoking as a result of all the uncertainty. Filter the news you choose to listen to so to a maximum of once daily and from a reputable source so that you get the important, up to date information and avoid ‘fake news’.

 

Tip 6: Focus on the things you can control

In a world where so much feels out of control it is refreshing to focus your mind on the things you can positively influence and try to make peace with what we cannot. If lockdown measures cause your lunch date to be cancelled? No problem- set up a video chat instead where you and your friends can all sit down with your favourite lunch and enjoy your catch up. Nourish your body and mind with wholesome food and regular movement to keep your wellness in check.

Tip 7: Talk!

We often talk about motherhood and newborns’ - but do we talk about the right things?

Questions like: What pram are you choosing? or What colour is your nursery? may sound familiar.

But how about: How are you keeping your mental wellbeing in check? Who is supporting you? What have you done for you today?

Mothers being honest with other mothers about the challenges is one of the most supporting things you can do- so let’s get talking about the struggles along with all the wonderful memories your making too.

 

Tip 8: Always call your maternity unit if you have any concerns

It is really important that you still access care, attend your ultrasound scans and appointments. Hospitals and staff are wearing PPE and taking extra measures to help keep you and themselves safe so try not to feel anxious about attending the hospital or your appointments. The service is still there for you 24/7, you should absolutely never feel like you are ‘wasting time’ or concerned about calling for help or support- it is what we are there for and we want to help you and keep you and your baby safe and well.

Tip 9: Check out the NHS or RCOG websites for accurate up-to-date information on Coronavirus

For accurate, up to date information and guidance on Coronavirus in Pregnancy and Postpartum I would recommend looking at these two sources:

https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/coronavirus-pregnancy/covid-19-virus-infection-and-pregnancy/

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk/pregnancy-and-coronavirus/

I hope these tips help you to cherish your pregnancy and motherhood journey and embrace a positive, supported experience despite the challenges we are facing in the world at the moment.

Thank you so much to Pip for sharing her expert tips with us – we hope they are helpful to all you expectant mamas out there!

The Medela website is also full of Coronavirus advice to support with pregnancy and breastfeeding, please do check it out here - https://www.medela.com/breastfeeding/mums-journey/covid-19-information-concerning-breastfeeding?_ga=2.52228522.2056873491.1603707694-1829579425.1603271329

You can find Pip on Instagram and her website. To join in the conversation with our #medelamums community, check out our Facebook and Instagram.