Managing anxiety in pregnancy during the coronavirus pandemic

Pregnant mom meditating

The current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a source of anxiety for many. And if you’re pregnant, it’s likely you’re worried about your health and your baby’s wellbeing. That anxiety you may feel is a normal response to a threatening situation.

Changes around doctors’ office visits and hospital policies have affected the pregnancy experience for most women. But, it’s important to keep in mind that these changes are being done to protect you and your baby. Your obstetrician’s goal is always safe mom and safe baby.

Your obstetrician also can reassure you that the hospital is a safe place to come—whether it’s for delivery or other urgent health care concerns.

Attention to safety is any hospital’s number one priority. This makes hospitals a safer place than most anywhere else you’ll visit during this pandemic. We are careful and constantly evaluating the effectiveness of our safety.

And while you continue to progress through your pregnancy journey, there are several options you can consider to ease your anxiety during this pandemic.

Take virtual classes. There are many interactive and informative virtual options available. Most hospitals offer their own virtual opportunities, including tours, support groups, prenatal exercises (like yoga), newborn care and breastfeeding support. These are now offered through online platforms and apps that focus on self-care and wellness throughout pregnancy.

Share your worries. Share them no matter how small you may think they are. Talking to trusted friends, family and even your physician can be beneficial. Keeping your worries and anxieties to yourself can create additional anxiety.

Enjoy some fresh air. Never underestimate the healing power of sunshine and the outdoors. Fresh air can help decrease anxiety and create a renewed sense of calm. 

Practice mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness on a regular basis has proven physical and emotional benefits. It can benefit your immune system, lower your blood pressure and regulate your body’s reaction to stress and fatigue. These are all very important during pregnancy, especially during this time. Consider practicing mindfulness meditation and mindful breathing outdoors.

Disconnect. Take a break from social media platforms for a few days. Also, try minimizing your exposure to news coverage. It is important to be informed. But, it’s more important to find a healthy balance of reliable information without triggering anxiety.

Be positive. Create a mindset to focus on all of the positives. Center your mind. Try following the daily/weekly development for you and your baby. Also, try creating positive affirmations. Hang these on the refrigerator as reminders. Make an effort to let the positives of pregnancy outweigh your worries. With good practice, minds are very capable of resetting. This will help you to focus during this worrying time.  

Be easy on yourself, no matter where you are on your pregnancy journey. Know that anxiety is a very normal and expected emotion in any pregnancy. Even before COVID-19 existed. 

Anxiety is certainly higher than usual. Especially during our new normal. But, don’t forget, there are many ways to help decrease your anxiety and worry.

Reach out for mental health support if you get to a point that your anxiety is getting in the way of your daily routine. This can include impacting your appetite or sleep patterns, or by increasing your feelings of hopelessness or nervousness.

Many mental health services are now virtual. If you need to, you can reach out for help within the privacy of your own home.

Cindy Radovic, MA, BSN-BC, is clinical director of Emergency and Inpatient Mental Health Services at Anne Arundel Medical Center. To schedule an appointment with her, call 443-481-3519.