Positive mental health is particularly important during pregnancy and postpartum. Currently, available literature has consistently shown an association between depression, anxiety during pregnancy, and small for gestational age, low birth weight, and preterm delivery. During the postpartum period around 10-15% of women experience depression and anxiety. It has also been observed that postpartum depression is one of the reasons for poor bonding with their babies. In the current period of COVID-19 pandemic, even routine visits to health care facilities for antenatal care and infant immunization are likely to create a great sense of anxiety in mothers about their health and that of their unborn or newborn baby. It is thus a matter of priority to address these concerns to ensure positive mental health and early interventions for perinatal mental health issues.
A general recommendation for pregnant women
Remember that your mental health is as important as physical health for the adequate growth and development of your baby.
Minimize watching, reading, or listening to news about COVID-19 that causes you to feel anxious or distressed.
Anxiety about the COVID-19 infection is normal at this time of pandemic and lockdown. But your mental health is important for the growth and development of your baby.
Seek information only from trusted sources so that you can take practical steps to prepare your plans and protect yourself and your loved ones.
Find opportunities to amplify positive and hopeful stories and positive images of local people who have experienced COVID-19. E.g. Stories of women who have had babies, persons who have recovered or who have supported a loved one, and are willing to share their experience.
Practice hand hygiene techniques frequently at home
Exposure to COVID-19 can be prevented by following your doctor's advice. Most doctors are now discouraging women to come to the hospital and prefer advice over the phone. They will tell you how to get your scan and blood test done.
Physical health during pregnancy can be sustained by maintaining an adequate diet which includes green leafy vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates.
Continue Iron and Folic acid tablets prescribed by your doctor.
Keep your contact only with persons near to you and who practice infection control.
It is good to stay at your home and involve in pleasurable activities.
Ask your doctor regarding sanitation practices at home.
If you are concerned about your pregnancy, contact your ASHA (Mithanin/ JPHN) or obstetrician over the phone.
If you are nearing your delivery, then keep your “Mother Card”, emergency ambulance number ready
Please follow the instructions provided by your doctor regarding hospital visits.
In case your doctor advises you to visit the hospital, then try not to touch any surface in the hospital.