I have been in contact with expectant mothers throughout this very uncertain time, that is COVID 19, through pregnancy yoga zoom classes and some expectant mothers messaging me. It is difficult, especially if it is your first pregnancy. I am trying to re-assure them as best I can. This is why I decided to compile a list of my top tips that I think are really helpful for pregnancy and labour at this time.
I received an email from a lady a few days ago who had come to my pregnancy yoga classes throughout her pregnancy. For the last couple of weeks of her pregnancy she linked in on my pregnancy yoga zoom class. The lady emailed me on the evening she had her new baby to let me know they were both safe and well, and also to let me know that the breathing and some of the postures really helped her in labour and having the baby. Other postures also helped to keep her body relaxed and calm throughout her pregnancy. This is so important for me to hear and to know that I am helping in some small way.
The thing to remember is; labour doesn't change. The midwives might look different (in PPE) and there will be different guidelines regarding your safety in the hospital but having your baby and how your body gives birth doesn't change. Below are tips that I think will keep you calm and help to make you feel in control.
Trust your breathing - Now more than ever, you need to keep your body as calm as possible. It is important to practice this as much as you can before the big day, so it is second nature to you when you really need it. If you practice breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth on a regular basis you will have seen the benefit to your body. You just need to trust that it will work for labour, through the contractions and giving birth.
Move and Stretch - Set aside certain times of the day to move and stretch. This is so important, especially in pregnancy. We are confined to our houses due to the restrictions and we are not moving in the same way as before. The lack of movement will cause more pressure on the hips, pelvis and lower back in pregnancy and if you are not moving and stretching, these muscles are getting tighter and shorter. This can cause blood flow and energy to become stagnant. Which in turn, can cause pain, tiredness and irregular sleeping pattern. Simple stretching techniques will help; child pose, touching your toes or all fours - cow and cat arches. Taking regular walks (within your limit) will also help with your mobility and flexibility.
Ask for Help - We are being told all the time about the impact of COVID 19 on our health service, and this has to have an impact on us as we don't want to be a burden. This is fine if everything is okay and you are healthy and well - BUT if you are feeling pain or discomfort in your pregnancy do not delay in contacting your GP or hospital. If it is some discomfort with a muscle or minor ache contact someone like me, who can give some stretches or breathing techniques but you need to trust your instincts and if it is something more, you need to contact the relevant health professional.
Don't Be Scared - When you are in labour and going into hospital, please take a minute to come to terms with the fact that the midwives and staff will have PPE on; including face masks. I know you will have had appointments but it is important to be prepared. Having your partner there is so important, and touch is more important than ever.Many studies that I have ever researched show the impact touch has on the body; lowering the heart rate, relaxing the body, calming the vagus nerve (calms your body from the nervous system) and bringing your body into the parasympathetic nervous system (calming the body down and allowing the body do the function it is required to do, i.e. continue labour effectively and efficiently). Touch (from someone you trust and love) and breathing are the most important techniques you will have to keep calm and control in labour.
I hope this helps you in some way to alleviate any stress you might have regarding being pregnant at this time.
It is also good to remember to keep yourself grounded; this means, to be aware of your feet on the ground and the connection between you and the floor/ground. This, as well as using your breathing techniques, will keep you and your body feeling connected and not spiraling out of control.
I wish you all the best of luck in the world and please don't forget to ask questions and be safe and follow the guidelines. I would love to hear how you got on or if you would like to join my zoom pregnancy yoga class, contact me and I can send you the link.