In these days Italy stops, the shutters are lowered and all around is surreal silence: however, something continues to go on, representing a real joy and hope for the future. Your pregnancy proceeds, with ups and downs, anxiety and hope, fears and small joys.
We join the #IoRestoaCasa campaign well aware of how difficult it is, in a moment like that of pregnancy, especially if after a loss, to stay calm and stay zen.
Curated by Laura Avagliano and Claudia Ravaldi
Even we, who are not pregnant, feel the pressure of this very complicated collective situation very strong but as women doctors we feel the desire to offer to women currently pregnant some practical suggestions to better face these days.
As you know, during this period, for at least two weeks, everything that is postponable is postponed.
It may therefore happen that your control visit is canceled , rescheduled , moved to another date .
If this happens, don’t worry: if this happens to you it means that you are experiencing a regular pregnancy and that moving the appointment does not put your health or that of the baby at risk.
Take advantage of these unexpected days of home tranquility to dedicate yourself to yourself, to get to know your baby and interact with him.
Observe his movements and habits, pay attention to his rhythms.
For example, you may notice that it often moves after you have eaten or when you try to rest while watching a movie on the sofa.
Other children, on the other hand, have no rhythms but are small constant earthquakes, each child is a different person, learn to know which “character” yours has.
If you are mid-pregnancy and have not yet started to feel the movements, maybe it will be during these days that you can start noticing unusual bubbles or butterflies in your belly.
It is he who moves.
These days of “apparent” calm, in which you are not taken by the frenzy of daily rhythms, will allow you to concentrate on the growing belly and you can begin to notice sensations that previously went unnoticed.
If there are other siblings try to give space to everyone’s needs, including YOUR personal needs for rest: alternate moments of play with moments of rest and in case you resort to the good old and dear vision of Disney cartoons, the Pimpa or similar: they are sure that even Montessori would have turned a blind eye to the time of the Coronavirus, close one too and rest as much as possible without additional stress.
The most important thing to keep in mind during these weeks of general closure is consistency in your habits and lifestyles.
Even if you are at home, you can in fact maintain a healthy life by adopting small precautions that are good for your physical health and mood.
Move regularly even indoors (during the day, remember to get up from your chair or sofa at least five minutes every hour); put on music and dance, or by connecting to youtube you can find several videos of gentle gymnastics or yoga for pregnancy: you can then exercise knowing that the movements you make are perfectly compatible with your state.
Physical activity improves circulation and metabolism so it is healthy and important that you maintain adequate physical activity even in these home days.
A light and regular physical activity in constancy also helps to maintain a good level of endorphins, which are very important for regulating the mood and avoiding excessive changes (we are human beings, we are fragile, we are pregnant, we are in a pandemic: we can make it and keep our mood bar straight most of the time!)
Eat healthy .
The grocery stores remain open so there will be no supply problems. Don’t miss out on fresh fruit and vegetables.
Remember that a balanced meal (containing carbohydrates, vegetables and proteins) optimizes blood sugar levels and is therefore ideal for you and your baby.
Remember to consume 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day divided as follows: 2 portions of vegetables (preferably one cooked and one raw) 2 portions of fruit (per portion means the one that is cupped in the hands, usually an apple / pear, or a handful of strawberries, 1 serving of dried fruit (almonds or walnuts for example).
A sore point: the packaged sweets and industrial products seem to have been made on purpose to allay the anxieties and consequent nervous hunger of this period; however the composition of these foods is too unbalanced (too many simple sugars) to take them daily and therefore we must drastically limit them: among the alternative solutions we have the healthy slice of wholemeal bread with butter and jam without added sugar, the homemade cake (like cake of apples, donut etc), bread with dried fruit and homemade raisins.
Getting in the kitchen to cook healthy and good meals is a way to take care of yourself and pass the time.
Staying at home all day can lead to a progressive alteration of the sleep-wake rhythm: we tend to go to bed late in the evening and get up very late in the morning. The continuous alteration of your sleep wake cycle can alter your mood, your appetite and your sugar balance which alas, in pregnancy is really of great importance and must be maintained at its best.
If possible, try to maintain your previous habits : stay in bed at least seven hours and try to go to sleep between ten in the evening and midnight, without doing so later. To fall asleep there are numerous strategies all more or less related to a good routine: among these we point out the relaxation apps that you can find on your phone, listen to music for meditation, read a good book.
If your follow-up visit is confirmed
If your check-up visit is confirmed even in these weeks of forced closure, the reasons are mainly related to the monitoring of particular specificities of your health or the health of the child that require careful surveillance.
Trust your doctor and show up for your appointment .
In this historical moment you will have to make some small sacrifices to protect your health, that of your doctor and that of your relatives: only you can enter, your partner will be waiting for you outside the structure.
We understand how difficult, stressful and disorienting it is to get to important visits alone.
These restrictions are for your safety and the safety of all other pregnant women.
As you know, it is necessary to maintain a minimum distance of one meter between people to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection.
Limiting the number of people present in the waiting room and inside the clinic therefore serves to ensure your safety. It is understandable that you have the desire to let your partner know the outcome of the check, so you can ask, for example, to be able to call him and have a hands-free interview so that he too can ask questions in real time, if he has any.
These are atypical days and therefore we are all flexible in finding alternative solutions, in mutual respect for safety.
Once the check is complete, go directly home and spend the other days in the serenity and protection of the home.
Ask relatives and friends not to visit you in person during these weeks of isolation.
As you know, social distancing reduces the spread of the virus.
We know that parents and friends will still be curious to see the baby bump grow; you can then decide to take the weekly profile photo of you and send it to him. It will then remain in your memory and you can show it to the child when he is older and you will tell him which particular year was the one in which he was born.
Keep a diary to tell and reflect and write down the good and bad things you feel;
Collect poems, motivational phrases, photographs that are meaningful to you.
Read aloud or listen to your partner read – it is good for you and the child to listen to readings.
Sing. Singing helps us relax, helps release endorphins, even helps prepare the body for future labor.
Please note: we don’t have to be Callas to sing, it’s fine to be like “modern” singers: if you sing like Miss Keta, Elettra Lamborghini or Achille Lauro, that’s fine. Indulge in music and good words.
Babies hear everything from the womb, and they will be happy to hear Mom sing.
If all of us, mothers and non-mothers, fathers and non-fathers, doctors, midwives, teachers, hauliers, fishmongers and pharmacists, newsagents and retirees, will do a few good things, we will get out of it at best.
Until that time, respect the rules and make others respect them, friends and relatives who are: protect yourself and your baby bump, stay at home and value your suspended time.
Claudia and Laura
This article was written by Dr. Laura Avagliano, gynecologist, and by Dr. Claudia Ravaldi, psychotherapist psychiatrist.