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If you are a regular reader you will know that I am pregnant right now! As you can imagine, the pandemic has had an impact on my pregnancy. Every single person in the world is currently experiencing the effects of the Coronavirus in some way. Although I had hoped that I wouldn’t need to speak about it on my blog, it is unavoidable. When I found out at the beginning of March that I was expecting I had never imagined that I would spend the majority of it separated from my loved ones. This is my experience of pregnancy during a pandemic.
First Trimester at Home
I want to begin this post with a positive reflection. We’re all struggling right now, whether you work on the front line, can no longer work at all or simply face each day missing your loved ones. Before I share the challenges I have faced with pregnancy during a pandemic I want to share some gratitude.
As most women do, I spent the first three months of my pregnancy feeling nauseous, achy and absolutely exhausted. At fourteen weeks I still feel the symptoms often. Had life been normal for me right now I would have spent the past few months cancelling plans with friends, attempting to work normal hours without comment and generally doing a terrible job of keeping the pregnancy a secret before we were ready to tell everyone the good news. I’m a terrible secret keeper.
The reality has been very different. I spent every moment in comfort at home with my husband. When I was tired I went to bed. Not once did I have to hide the bump that was slowly appearing before our very eyes, wearing only comfy clothes without suspicion from anyone. On the days where food was a struggle I snacked on crisps and fruit. No one would be coming to visit so I didn’t have to stress about cleaning the house when my energy was low. I spent my days resting and eating and enjoying the process.
Appointments Over the Phone
All contact with health care professionals is being kept to a minimum at the moment. It helps to protect them and the people they are caring for. Unfortunately it does mean that I have not yet met a member of the antenatal or midwife teams who will be looking after me throughout the duration of my pregnancy and in the postpartum stage.
Normally, and ideally, women are placed with a midwife or midwife team who they meet with regularly for check ups and antenatal classes if they choose to take part. This helps to build relationships and trust as you move towards the birth. As it stands, my hospital are holding all appointments over the phone until I am 25 weeks pregnant. Something that worried me a great deal at first as I’d be going past the half way point without meeting a single person.
I needn’t have worried. The midwife team at my at my hospital have been incredible. They’ve kept me informed every step of the way and provided me with every phone number I could possibly need in case I want to reach out for any help or advice. With everything going on they’ve even had time for a chit chat, asking me all about my pregnancy so far and the type of birth I’d like to have. They’ve even been sharing stories of positive births that have happened recently. With each phone call I’m building a little more trust in them and I now can’t wait to meet my midwife in person.
Announcing the Pregnancy Over Facetime
Announcing my pregnancy over facetime is certainly something I hadn’t anticipated, but also one that I am actually very grateful for. I know that sounds strange to say, but let me explain. If I was to tell all of my loved ones that I was pregnant in person it would take weeks, especially as I live 200 miles from most of them. Doing it this way, I was able to tell everyone within about 48 hours. I still got to see their reactions and have that one to one time with them, sharing the excitement. Something I really didn’t want to lose.
Of course, I wish I could have told my parents and Mike’s Mum in person. That one I am sad about. My plan was to tell them around Mother’s day at the end of March. I would have been around 7 weeks and it just felt like the perfect timing. We still have the memory of the moment we shared on the phone though and it was still such an exciting experience. Just a little different from what we had anticipated.
Going to Scans Alone
The most hard hitting realisation for me regarding pregnancy during a pandemic is the safety measures hospitals are having to put in place. Receiving the date of my first scan filled me with excitement. Unfortunately this soon vanished as I was told that my husband wouldn’t be allowed to come with me. This would be the first time I would see my baby and I wasn’t allowed to share it with the one person I wanted there the most.
As you can imagine, my initial response was to be upset. I was angry too. It wasn’t fair that such an important and special experience could be taken away from us. A few deep breaths helped the fog clear thankfully. The safety of staff and patients was the most important thing and big compromises were being made by everyone.
What’s more, within minutes of receiving the bad news my husband had a plan for us. He suggested we go to a private clinic locally for our first scan. We could experience it together. Then I could attend my hospital appointments without upset. Just a week later we had our first scan together. The clinic were incredibly supportive and very safe, encouraging all visitors to remain in their car until their appointment time. Seeing our baby for the first time brought us both so much joy. It also released any worry I had been holding on to.
Concern About the Risks
You might imagine that the risks of the virus whilst pregnant have been consuming my thoughts since the outbreak began. Thankfully, this hasn’t been the case. I am considered, under government guidelines, to be high risk. Fortunately for me personally, this has simply meant staying at home and being sensible. My husband and I are both very fortunate to be able to work from home. Mike goes out occasionally for our food shopping, wearing a mask and gloves and keeping his distance. Otherwise we have been able to stay in our own bubble.
To ensure I keep my worry to a minimum I have also been avoiding the news and a lot of social media. I check the important updates daily online, but otherwise remain oblivious. I would definitely suggest removing any unnecessary media from your life, not just during pregnancy but in general. The more we can care for our mental health at this time, the better.
I can’t lie and say that pregnancy during a pandemic is an entirely enjoyable experience. I miss my family and friends so bloody much and wish they could watch the progress of my pregnancy with me. Knowing what others are having to go through at this time however, I’m grateful that this is my biggest complaint. Over the coming weeks and months my focus is going to remain on the positives. My baby and I are healthy and in six more months we’ll be together, hopefully with our family around us too.
As I am no medical expert I don’t want to speak of anything formally here. If you have any concerns at all about handling pregnancy during a pandemic the best thing you can do is speak to a medical professional. Whether that is your doctor, antenatal unit, midwife or another trusted person. They will know how to help and have all the best advice for your individual needs. If you are in the UK this is the link to the NHS guidance.