Mom of 8, Online Childbirth Educator and creator of Natural Birth and Baby Care.com, Kristen Burgess says while the coronavirus and quarantine of 2020 completely changed life for most families, it also had some unexpected benefits for pregnant moms and newborns. “Babies gained weight more quickly, moms had fewer preemies, and stress lowered – even during a global pandemic.”
While there’s no scientific studies to back her claims yet, she shares in her latest podcast why she thinks pregnant moms, moms with newborns and moms in general did so much better during lockdown.
Kristen says one thing midwives, nurses and doctors noticed straight away during quarantine was that babies were coming back to their birth weight much faster. “We also saw fewer premature babies – which is really interesting because stress and tension was a lot higher than usual worldwide.”
So, how is it possible for things to get better during a worldwide pandemic? Why are we seeing these results?
Kirsten says she believes the biggest reason why we’re seeing these results is because there’s less direct stress on moms. “I have to admit that the beginning of quarantine was extremely stressful for me just because it changed life as we know it. But, what my family, and many new families and moms experienced was that even though there’s this global change, and we saw life as we know it come to a screeching halt, and even amidst all the worries about the economy, the mental load around us wasn’t as direct. But, one thing that did directly affect us was the shutdown and the quarantine because it put a stop to any outside activities. Extracurricular activities stopped, kids stopped going to school, most of us stopped going to work. Yes, many of us still worked from home and had Zoom meetings, but there wasn’t the ‘go-go-go’ – the fast pace stopped,” she explains.
“This meant that pregnant moms, moms with babies and moms with kids were at home more and that plays a huge part and has a huge impact on our well-being and our sense of being.
Moms had fewer preemies
“When you’re pregnant, it’s really important to slow down and take time for self-care – but most of us never really get time to do this with our busy schedules and lifestyles. Quarantine forced us to take this time – all our outside activities disappeared, our social calendars cleared,” says Kristen.
Even though you had an hour-long meeting on Zoom, it’s different to having an hour-long appointment in person, which you still would have had to drive to – but during lockdown you didn’t have to commute.
“That calm, quiet, slower pace is what babies in the womb are really programmed for. Pregnancy is not meant to be a ‘go-go-go’ time. While it’s good to move when you’re pregnant, going for a walk, a swim, etc, there should be balance. What we really want to see for pregnant women is a slowing down of pace – the truth is this is really good for babies, and small children and even older children.”
Babies gained more weight faster
“Moms didn’t feel obligated to go visit or even to receive visitors during lockdown. Even though there needs to be balance during the post-partum time with emotional health and connection with others, there can also be a lot of overwhelm and overstimulation for everybody. And when all of that is taken away and the focus is just on being home, being safe and being with your family, moms are not as stressed, so they’re making more milk and babies aren’t as stressed and overstimulated so they’re nursing better. There’s just calm and we see that reflected in our babies and mamas,” says Kristen.
“When you’re at home, you are more relaxed and have more time to prepare meals, which means you’re better nourished. I believe this is also one of the reasons why we saw fewer preemies and moms with more/richer breast milk. Moms had access to more wholesome/basic foods because they were at home baking and cooking,” says Kristen.
Spending more time outdoors
“Another reason I believe there were fewer preemies and babies who thrived more is because families spend more time outdoors,” says Kristen. There wasn’t much else to do, you couldn’t go to movies, play parks, etc. So, you spend time outside with your family, relaxing.
Fewer social obligations
“As new moms it’s nice not to have that pressure or expectation from friends and family that you are going to visit or receive visitors at home. A lot of times stress comes with this. When all the obligations were gone – joining a mom and baby class, etc, moms just had a lot more time to rest and time with their babies. The womb experience continued for a little bit longer – moms were at home for longer with their babies – cuddling them, feeding on demand more, and bonding with their babies,” Kristen says.
Returning to life as we know it
Kristen says when life goes back to normal and you find yourself feeling stressed and tired, or see your little one is tired and cranky, think about the things you did during lockdown that you can still apply to your life now to get that calmness back. “Look at the things you enjoyed doing and start doing that again. If you enjoyed not seeing people so often, do that. You don’t have to close yourself completely off – but just know that you can say no to visitors. Be intentional and careful about what you schedule,” she concludes.
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