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Positive wellness at the forefront of prenatal care

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For a woman who chooses to have a child, pregnancy can be the most precious and tender experience of her life — but also the most vulnerable.

While her body drastically changes to grow and nourish her baby, she simultaneously evolves her mind, heart, and soul to prepare for a lifetime of nurturing.

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In “normal” times, this transition can be difficult; throw in a pandemic and it can feel overwhelming.

Although the pandemic has showcased a wide range of emotions and needs for pregnant women, care providers in the valley have noticed that these women are doing relatively well.

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Brooke Halliwell, DO, an obstetrics and gynecology physician Valley View Hospital’s Women’s Health, said that in addition to following above standard COVID-19 protocols, they are screening every visitor, offering telehealth for low risk pregnancies, providing real-time, bilingual mental and behavioral therapy, and allowing one support person for each pregnant woman.

Halliwell said that right now it is important for care providers to increase their support for the bonding experiences that come from pregnancy.

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“At Family Birthplace we are not separating any infants from their mothers,” Halliwell emphasized. “We have baby-friendly accreditation and skin-to-skin bonding. That first hour with mom has been a huge focus of our unit for years. We know a lot more about COVID now than six weeks ago. We never separated them then, and will not do that now.”

Overall, Halliwell said, that the women they are providing care for are resilient and coping well across the dimensions of wellness. 

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One of the rare pregnant women who has contracted COVID-19 was asymptomatic and did not require any hospitalization.

Ashley Weitzel Wilson, certified yoga instructor and founder of Radiant Mamas Yoga, believes that humans innately desire connection, and that pregnancy and motherhood are two life choices that ought to be celebrated with togetherness.

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“The thing that is most critical to me as we navigate this [pandemic] is connection,” Weitzel Wilson said. “While we go one way in terms of physical space, the access to the heart and to each other must get broader and juicier and deeper than before. Connection was critical before, it is absolutely vital now.”

Weitzel Wilson noted that pregnant mamas can still find connection through online yoga classes, motherhood circles, and of course picking up the phone to say hi to a loved one.

With community, she said that pregnant women are given the space and permission to feel their emotions and their grief during the pandemic. It is also a beautiful opportunity to share ideas and grow with each other throughout their lifetimes.

“Pregnancy is already our own uncharted territory,” Weitzel Wilson said. “Now we’re in this completely uncharted territory as a world, as a community, and as a nation. How we navigate it is so individual, but it doesn’t mean we have to do it alone. It means we honor each individual path during this time.” 

Future mama and Assistant to the COO at Colorado Mountain College Jamie Murphy echoed that community insight, and added that she prioritizes daily phone calls to her mother and regularly connects with other moms in the valley.

As a self-proclaimed “all or nothing” individual, Murphy has learned that small, consistent efforts have been beneficial to her wellness during the pandemic.

“Pregnancy has really taught me to have grace for every little thing that I do, even if it’s just a walk, or a slow mile on the treadmill. It’s not this massive effort — it’s little bit of things everyday and staying consistent,” she said.

Looking toward the future, Murphy is excited to watch her body grow and eventually bring her miraculous little being into the world; and despite the uncertainty, she said that the future can be bright, positive, and full of love if we allow ourselves to experience it.

Holistic Mama Tips
Compiled by Radiant Mamas Yoga

  1. Community: Find your tribe and connect with them. Whether that be a video chat or a physically distanced walk, it is important to stay connected to your community right now.
  2. Free write journaling: Give yourself the space to experience grief, joy, and sadness without judgement. Allow the words to come as they may and this experience will help organize your thoughts and emotions during challenging times.
  3. Gratitude: Play with daily gratitude. Find small moments of joy throughout your day and either write them down or repeat them to yourself before going to sleep. 
  4. Meditative breathwork: Meditation on its own can be intimidating, but by adding breathwork you can create deep meaningful impact. Start slowly with maybe just a few moments in the morning, adding more time as you feel comfortable.

Useful Online Tools

Expecting Plus App

Expecting and Empowered App

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