Pregnancy can create high levels of anxiety for expecting parents. About 10% of pregnant people experience perinatal anxiety and for good reason. Your body’s changing a lot in a short time frame and several things can impact your health and the health of your baby.
It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the “what-ifs” until you’re in an anxious spiral you feel like you can’t get out of. When you add a pandemic on top of that existing anxiety? Let’s just say you’re not alone if you feel like you’re in a perinatal nightmare.
The good news is that there are precautions you can take to help mitigate your anxiety and boost your health and the health of your baby throughout your pregnancy.
Don’t skip prenatal care appointments
Although your first instinct might be to limit your prenatal appointments to reduce the amount of contact you have with other people, especially in a medical facility, it’s important to continue your prenatal appointments. Prenatal care helps to reduce the risk of birthing complications and keeps parents informed about what they can do to ensure the health of their baby. Prenatal screening has decreased the population of people with Down syndrome by 30%.
According to the CDC, pregnant people may be at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and adverse pregnancy outcomes like preterm birth. Prenatal care can help to ensure that your pregnancy is going well and your risk of health complications are minimal.
Reach out to community health centers
If you’ve lost your job due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be difficult to afford prenatal care. This is especially true if you don’t have a partner to supplement your loss of income or if you’re among the 5.5 million unmarried couples in the U.S. who don’t qualify for maternity leave.
Fortunately, there are options available to you for prenatal care if you’re financially struggling. The average cost of treatments at a retail clinic is approximately 30% to 40% less than at a physician’s office. Community health centers, Planned Parenthood, or other family planning clinics may have low-cost or free prenatal care options available to you.
Limit your interactions with other people
The CDC recommends everyone limit their interactions with other people as much as possible, especially for those who are pregnant. Try to only grocery shop once every two weeks. Wear a mask and keep your nose covered when you wear it. Don’t let strangers touch your bump, either. If they’re close enough to touch your belly, they’re close enough to spread COVID-19.
Being pregnant at any time can be stressful, but during a pandemic, things can feel especially overwhelming. By following the tips above and learning more about how you can reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19, you can feel more secure in your baby’s health throughout your pregnancy.