Blog #5 – Covid Considerations in Late Pregnancy
My blog and Facebook page have been a little neglected of late, as my physical and mental energy are being all-consumed by late pregnancy. I really should have expected this, but it has been a bit more tiring than I would have thought. How naive of me.
I’m now 36 weeks, and Coronavirus is still very much a consideration in our everyday lives, even though the general public and the news makes it seem like it’s all over. While everyone around us seems to be picking up where they left off with their social lives, we are still indoors, and have been for nearly 4 months now. I would love nothing more than to get out and meet up with friends, but it seems the guidance for pregnant people hasn’t yet changed, and now I’m in the 3rd trimester, the risks from Coronavirus could be higher than before. So we’re staying in, having our shopping delivered, and just popping out for the occasional, well-distanced stroll.
Lockdown has very much changed the way our pregnancy has turned out. From my experience and from chatting online with other mums-to-be, it seems that we have not received the same level of antenatal care as we would have in ‘normal’ times. Appointments have been cancelled or conducted by phone, and continuity has been a real issue. Visiting antenatal clinics and the hospital have been almost nerve-wracking; my visits usually go something like this:
1. I plan my journey as carefully as possible because I know I’ll be doing it alone and needing to find parking etc by myself
2. Pack my purse, phone, drink and snacks into my maternity notes pouch so I can avoid taking a handbag which might pick up Coronavirus germs at the hospital
3. Find a mask and put it on before leaving the house, then remember not to touch my face or the mask for the rest of my trip.
4. I leave the house with a mild sense of dread in case I have to hear bad news when I’m there alone
5. Remember to ask the midwife/sonographer if I can video call my partner or take a photo/video (sadly, it’s usually a no)
6. Wash my hands as often as possible during the hospital visit, and try to avoid touching door handles, seats etc.
7. Remember to take my clothes off and jump in the shower as soon as I get home, before even telling my partner of any news from the appointment
I don’t think I’m alone in saying this is not how I imagined my pregnancy would be. I’m forever grateful that I, so far, have remained well and free from the Coronavirus, and that none of my family have been affected. But this pregnancy was a long time coming, and being unable to share it with family and friends has been really hard. I also feel really sad for my partner as he has missed so many scans and appointments. I don’t think a print out of a scan still really compares to seeing your baby in live action.
Although our time of strict self isolation is coming to an end with the imminent arrival of our baby, everything doesn’t just go back to normal when they arrive. In fact, we might have even harder decisions to make, because there’ll be a 3rd little person to consider when we decide the safest way to break our lockdown. And the difficulties of isolation continue, as loneliness is a risk for any new mother, but in the current climate, I’m betting that many more are struggling with this. I wonder if we will see an increased prevalence of postnatal depression.
As with other new parents, we are going to have to decide how we are going to allow others back into our lives. We need to weigh up our need to have family around us, and to socialise our baby, with the risks that might bring. We all have to get back to normal at some point, and I can’t wait. But I just want to make sure we do it as safely as possible.
But it hasn’t been all bad. I’ve been working from home 2 days a week, and the rest of my time is my own. My partner had already planned a sabbatical, which has meant he has also been at home with me. Luckily we haven’t driven each other to distraction, and have, in fact, shared some very special times. Without the outside world keeping us busy, we’ve had more time to cook, laugh and prepare for our new life together. I think a part of me will always remember lockdown, at least in part, fondly because of this. Our last few months of being a twosome has been very special indeed.
I hope your lockdown pregnancy hasn’t been too hard on you. Just remember that although we are isolating, you aren’t alone. Reach out to those around you, your friends and family are just a phone or video call away. And Facebook groups have been invaluable to me for staying connected to other pregnant women.
Thanks for reading,
The Vegan Doctor