Are you in your third trimester of pregnancy during Covid-19? Then this is for you.
When you’re pregnant any health concerns may cause anxiety, so the currently unsettling time could be especially troubling.
Pregnant women are in the high risk category as a precautionary measure, although the most current advice from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is encouraging in that expectant women and their babies are not actually at an increased risk from Covid-19:.
* Pregnant women are not more susceptible
* No evidence that the virus can pass to your baby
* No increased risk of miscarriage or altered foetal development
* No evidence of transmission to babies through breastmilk
* Even if you test positive, your baby will be allowed to stay with you
Although we can all find reassurance in this, it’s still not easy. My thoughts are especially with women in the third trimester and those approaching their due date. Different situations and challenges are outlined below, but whatever you may have to cope with, I hope I can provide some useful tips to help you manage the third trimester more easily in this new world.
Third trimester with your first?
Typically, you’d enjoy your last child free months before baby arrives – going out with your partner or your friends, making new buddies at birth preparation classes and maybe even enjoying relaxing professional pregnancy massages or complimentary treatments. In short, making the most of those last few weeks of spontaneity.
Expecting your second (or more)?
You may have been relying on the support of wider family members. Perhaps they were lined up to look after older siblings when you go into labour? Unlikely to be an option now and you may even have to face birthing without your partner. How will you cope with caring for a new baby and their sibling(s) at home full time, while those of you with school age children will have the added pressure of home schooling to negotiate?
Sadly, everything has changed with Covid-19. For all women about to give birth there is also the sadness of knowing that friends and family will not be able to visit and share those early precious moments with the new arrival. Woman are often disappointed when their Birth Plan doesn’t work out as they had hoped, but this is next level and I really feel for you.
A chance to “Nest”
During my many years of offering pregnancy massage I frequently treated over-stressed women in their third trimester: working right up to their due date and also frantically squeezing all the preparation in before their baby arrived. Hopefully the current enforced confinement gives you the opportunity to do some proper nesting: Having time to get everything in place at home, to stop everything else while you get your head in the right space and to rest. Below is a list I have compiled of wellbeing suggestions, along with offers from my network of prenatal practitioners who are all being creative and adapting to the lockdown, with links to their online resources.
- Work out your Birth Plan B. NHS trust policies regarding birth partners may have changed. Planning a home birth? Some trusts have suspended home births but in other areas they may be a solution for those having a second or more birth and who are generally considered low risk. Contact them, once you have a more certainty you are likely to feel calmer.
- In turbulent moments, it is important to retain a little rhythm, familiarity and normalcy. Try to keep to a daily routine and build in some special treat times too from the suggestions below.
- Take naps whenever you need to. Partner at home now? If you have other little ones, they can keep their eyes on them!
- If you are well and not having to self-isolate for other health reasons, take advantage of getting out once a day for fresh air, vitamin D and exercise. To keep it interesting try a different route each day. Remember to include some gentle stretches on your return.
- When you feel energised, get creative in the kitchen and batch cook foods to freeze, making it easier in those early weeks with a new baby.
- Join a local antenatal class online. Search with your postcode and due date on the NCT’s website.
- Try some pregnancy specific fitness and yoga classes at home. Nadia Rafaat of Becoming Mother is running weekly live pregnancy yoga classes Kim Holdcroft of Back to Bump Physio is offering pregnancy and birth preparation classes. while Mathilde Thiell of Training Points has a range of online fitness classes for pregnancy.
- Need targeted help with pregnancy pain? – Osteopath Julia Findlay offers phone advice or in-depth video consultations, taking your full history for exercise suggestions.
- Try Hypnobirthing for a calm birth Practitioner Kristin Hayward offers affordable online hypnobirthing courses and downloadable MP3’s and Yes Mum offers cards with positive affirmations.
- Get prepared for the next stage. Independent midwife Tina Perridge shares feeding tips and postnatal wellbeing in this video chat with Hello Mums.
- Date night at home It can be too easy to collapse in front of the TV each night or get distracted by your phone. Try to make a special dinner (or even better get your partner to do this!) or order a takeaway once a week. Create a nice atmosphere with music and low lighting and enjoy each other’s company.
- Home Massage A professional pregnancy massage is not currently an option but your partner may have magic hands! With these tips and simple massage techniques you can get their training started.
- Wind down for bedtime. Poor sleep is often an issue in the third trimester but may be further compounded by anxiety at this time. On my blog I share 7 Tips to Ease Pregnancy Insomnia including using soothing organic aromatherapy blend Relax Oil to help you drift off.
- Have a Pamper session. Draw yourself a warm bath, swish in a pregnancy safe essential oil blend, dim the lights or light a candle, play your favourite calming music or audio book and relax.
- Get your thoughts down on paper. Simply writing something down can be therapeutic. Try keeping a journal to help you focus on the positives of each day or write a diary to document this extraordinary period of time to form a keepsake for your children.
I hope you have found these helpful. For more wellbeing tips and offers join us on Instagram.
Although Covid-19 has brought about fear, uncertainty and specific challenges for some, you could also try to see it as a gift in some sense. The gift of time to prepare, to bond and to nurture yourself before another life changing moment.
Jayne Russell has over twenty years of experience as a pre’ and postnatal massage and nutritional therapist and is the founder of Nom Nom – award winning, certified organic pregnancy and baby skincare. Sign up for your free skincare guide “10 Steps to Super Healthy Baby Skin” at nomnomskincare.com