Pregnancy and Birth Planning During Pandemic

Here I am, 39- weeks pregnant, on lockdown in my flat in London. I am not alone in this experience. Thousands of women around the world are navigating pregnancy during the coronavirus pandemic. Their access to antenatal care might be limited. They are worried and they have been separated from their families and friends. 
This is how I navigated my pregnancy in lockdown.

I am an obsessive planner. With most things, I like to plan for every possible outcome knowing that should something go wrong, I already know what to do. 
Whatever birth you hope for, I recommend making a birth preference (plan). Some people say ”it never go to the plan so why do you bother?”, but I find that having a plan will give you something to focus on, something to visualise and manifest. Having preference birth list means you don’t need to meltdown if things go wrong. I had everything in place, from hospital bag, packed beside the door just in case. 

The Gentle Birth Method: The Month-by-Month Jeyarani Way Programme Book gave me a great introduction to the holistic prenatal approach and a reasonable idea of what I wanted from a birth plan. 
Another one was Milli Hill’s The Positive Birth A New Approach to Pregnancy, Birth and the Early Weeks Book which then lead me to The Positive Birthing Company Online Hypnobirthing Program ”The Digital Pack”. It was the best investment of the entire Pregnancy. This course aims to create positive birth experiences and to support women in pregnancy, birth and beyond. Hypnobirthing is a logical approach to childbirth. The tools and techniques you will learn on a course are hugely beneficial for Mums, birth partners and babies! You will find the relaxation techniques you practice in Pregnancy can be used not only for birth but life in general. Many studies have shown that a positive birth experience has a profound impact on maternal psychological and emotional wellbeing and enables women to embark on motherhood feeling confident, strong and capable. The positive birthing company course will equip you with the skills and tools needed to navigate your birth, whether that be at home, hospital or in theatre, feeling empowered and in control. 

You may want to download the Freya app for contraction timing and positive affirmations. 

One of the useful tools is a PDF Birth Preference Template for completion, which I liked and used. Otherwise, you can download your PDF NHS Birth plan template print it out, pop into your hospital bag. Remember everything you include is ”prefered” and if not possible let it go. Don’t be too rigid. 

Pregnancy Nutrition

The way you nourish yourself during pregnancy shapes your baby’s health, and not just in early infancy, but for the rest of his or her life. The foods you eat, the supplements you take, the way you move your body, the toxins you are exposed to (or not), and the way you handle stress, can leave a direct and lasting mark on your baby’s DNA, and thus his or her risk for health problems later in life. It is a vast topic so I would like to dedicate it a separate article. There are some important nutrients, including some particular vitamins and minerals, that are needed in pregnancy and wherever possible these should be provided by a good diet.

It is recommended that all pregnant women take a daily vitamin supplement that contains 400 micrograms of folic acid and 10 micrograms of vitamin D in pregnancy. I chose the branded specialist multivitamins for pregnant women. 

Wild Nutrition Bespoke Woman Food-Grown Pregnancy 90’s Food-Grown® vitamins & minerals formulated for the entire pregnancy & for breastfeeding women. Synergistic nutrients including Vitamin D, Iron and Vitamin B12, 400ug of folic acid in the form of natural folate, Iodine for healthy growth & thyroid, Zinc for healthy cognitive function and immunity.

Biocare Methyl Pregnancy Multinutrient 60’s it is a superior, high potency formulation to support pregnancy and breastfeeding, containing active folic acid in the form of Methylfolate.

Fish oil supplementation shows promise at reducing allergic diseases. I choose:

Wiley’s Finest Wild Alaskan Fish Oil Prenatal DHA 60mg Good for Mum and Baby. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) maternal intake contributes to the normal brain and eye development of the foetus and breastfed infants. Pregnant and lactating women should target daily intake of 200mg of DHA in addition to the recommended intake of Omega-3 fatty acids for adults

Viridian Pregnancy Omega 3 200ml Formulated by experts in mother & baby nutrition. Recommended for pre-conception, pregnancy and postnatal, especially while breastfeeding.  

Probiotics can prevent atopic allergy when given in pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Healthy bacteria are just as important to the newborn baby as to adults and the establishment of a robust population of friendly microflora as soon after birth as possible is critical in driving the development of a healthy immune and intestinal function. The acquisition of beneficial flora in the new-born may be enhanced if the mother also takes a supplement of friendly bacteria during pregnancy. Additionally, this will help support the immune and intestinal function of the mother during the pregnancy period.
This product has been specifically developed with this in mind.

My pregnancy probiotic was PROVEN Probiotics Lactobacillus & Bifidus for Pregnancy 30’s. 

To order recommended supplements use code ANW10 for 10% off RRP. 

Pregnancy Fitness

Before the coronavirus… I was keeping fit through pregnancy with regular exercises & walking.
Now… I did not let COVID19 stop me from having a healthy pregnancy. I did some pregnancy yoga classes and prenatal exercises from Youtube. 
Here are my favourite 
Pilates For Pregnancy – Month ONE – First Trimester
Pilates For Pregnancy – Month THREE – First Trimester 
Pilates For Pregnancy – Month FOUR – Second Trimester
Body Exercises for 4-6 months pregnant – Second Trimester 
Simple exercises and tips to prepare a body for easy labour – Third Trimester 
Pregnancy Yoga Third Trimester
Pelvic Floor Exercises For Pregnant Women daily pregnancy Kegels routine to prepare for an easier birth, faster recovery after birth. 
Pregnancy Yoga for Birth Preparation
Using a Birth Ball During Pregnancy How to Use a Birth Ball to INDUCE LABOR and PREPARE FOR BIRTH

From week 20 of Pregnancy, I saw a physiotherapist regularly due to Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD), which is a group of symptoms that cause discomfort in the pelvic region. It usually occurs during Pregnancy, when your pelvic joints become stiff or move unevenly. It can happen both at the front and back of your pelvis. SPD is also sometimes referred to as pelvic girdle pain. Seeing physiotherapist helped get everything in line and made me much more comfortable. I recommend it to everyone who gets pregnant. You can also look for chiropractor specialising in Pregnancy or Cranio-sacral therapist. This can be difficult during the lockdown therefore I recommend online pregnancy exercises:
Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction Pregnancy Exercises
Exercises to resolve pelvic girdle pain in Pregnancy 

Antenatal courses 

The last trimester of my Pregnancy happened to be during pandemic and lockdown. I wasn’t able to attend any antenatal classes. 
Here where The Positive Birth Company Digital Pack came handy. 
I also followed the Youtube Maternity Care Midwife channel and found these videos very educational.
Prenatal Class – Part 1: Prenatal
Prenatal Part 2 – Labour and Birth
Prenatal Class: Part 3 – Postnatal
Antenatal Breathing and Relaxation for Labour
Some interactive, engaging and the social live online antenatal course is a great way for you to meet other local parents, and get essential unbiased information and knowledge about pregnancy, birth and early days with your baby. You can try NCT Live online antenatal courses All their articles have been thoroughly researched and are based on the latest evidence from reputable and robust sources.

I wouldn’t have done it without Meditations.

Here are my favourite ones 
Guided meditation for Pregnancy  – 10 minutes.
Pregnancy & Relaxation – Guided Meditation – 25 minutes.
Hypnotic Relaxation for Pregnancy – 22 minutes
Pregnancy Music: Relaxing Harp Music & Soothing Sounds for Pregnant Mother & Newborn Deep Sleep

Have you heard of Perineal Stretch Massage? What is it?

It is a special massage technique that stretches and softens the lower vaginal tissues, preparing them for the delivery of the baby’s head. 
This procedure is to be practised daily after 36 weeks – DO NOT DO IT BEFORE THEN. It is a very important part of the programme because it reaches the parts deep muscle relaxation cannot sometimes reach. The vaginal muscles can remain tense and tight. Perineal stretch massage can create more space in the vagina for the baby’s head. Reduce the second stage of labour (i.e. the pushing stage), reduce the incidence of vaginal and perineal tears and bruising. Less bruising means quicker recovery after birth. 
Here is a technique recommended by Dr Gowri Moths from ” Gentle Birth Method” Book.
Vaginal Self Stretch

Homoeopathic Tissue Salt Program was a winner!

During pregnancy, the baby requires certain salts, which it gets at the expense of the mother. Our bodies are actually built up from these minerals. In order for our cells to renew and work their very best, we need to take up these salts or minerals from our diet.
This programme corrects maternal salt deficiencies and helps the baby with the necessary salts. Some health food stores sell tissue salts alongside homoeopathic remedies. You can try more specialist homoeopathic pharmacies such as Nelsons or Ainsworths where I got my tissue salts and homoeopathic kit from. 

Let me know how you get on with your Pregnancy in lockdown?

Remember You’ve got this, Mama! 

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