This month we carried out research amongst new and expectant mums and how they are feeling and coping in amongst the pandemic. The overwhelming news was that nearly half of those questioned (43%) have felt their mental health take a dip as a result of COVID-19 and 51% have felt isolated which is really worrying.
Some of the worst effects on being pregnant or giving birth during 2020 have been the feeling of isolation and for 1 in 2 polled, they’d even paused plans on another baby in the next 3 years. The things that have been really missed have been visiting mum and baby groups and making new friends, being unable to receive the support they would have done from family and friends, and of course their partner only being able to be with them for part of the birth and then having to leave shortly after and not see mum or baby again until they are discharged from hospital. For mums of babies with colic, which accounted for ½ of everyone questioned, more than a third (37%) felt completely helpless, 27% felt frightened and during 2020 the interview has been the main source of information around treating colic instead of seeking advice from a health care professional. Truly disturbing.
We teamed up with psychologist and This Morning regular, Emma Kenny and friend of Colief, parenting blogger at Rock N Roller Baby and Daily Star columnist Ruth Davis – who is expecting her fourth child and hosted a range of radio and TV interviews around the topic. Some top tips for overcoming some of the challenges faced by new and expectant mums can be found below:
- Make sure to get fresh air every day – it’s good for you
- Regular exercise will help you feel good and maintain your health – just a daily walk is beneficial
- Relaxing in the bath can help soak away stresses
- Eating a well-balanced diet will fuel you to face any challenges
- Reducing caffeine and alcohol intake is important
- Drink plenty of water – you may not realise it, but not drinking enough water can make your anxiety symptoms worse. Dehydration can actually cause heart palpitations. This can lead to feelings of panic, which may trigger an anxiety attack
- Talking to a trusted friend, family member or HCP about your anxiety – remember a problem shared, is a problem halved
- Lavender is well known for its calming properties. Keep a small bottle of lavender oil on hand for the scent, for when you feel anxious thoughts brewing
- Sleep – this isn’t always easy during pregnancy or with a newborn, but getting a regular bedtime routine will help and if you need to, nap when the baby naps during the day to make sure you feel fully rested
- Reduce screentime – turn off that phone
- Try deep breathing exercises or meditation
- Write about it – sometimes you may not feel like talking. All those thoughts need somewhere to go. Try starting a journal where you can let out your feelings without fear of judgment