Survey results show mums are struggling to connect

86% of pregnant women and new mums have been feeling a lack of social interaction during COVID-19 pandemic.

Image of woman's feet walking through a park, pushing a pram

22/07/2020

As a new mum or pregnant woman, it is easy to become isolated as your focus turns to caring for your baby. During lockdown, this sense of isolation has increased for many, which is one factor that can contribute to poor mental wellbeing. As many as 1 in 5 women develop a mental health condition during pregnancy or in the first year after birth, so a focus on your wellbeing is important during that time. Try not to put any pressure on yourself when it comes to interacting with others, but having a solid support network from family or friends can really help, especially during the pandemic when many people are feeling anxious. 

In supported by Tommy’s, earlier this month the motherhood app Mush surveyed 765 women to find out more about how mums are coping. Only 14% of pregnant women and new mums said they are currently getting enough human interaction.

 
 
 
 

“I was self-isolating during pregnancy and was very nervous to go out, particularly on my own. Now I’ve had my baby, I still don't want to take her out anywhere or socialise with others, as some people come way too close. I've found it worrying as a first-time mum – not the enjoyable experience I'm supposed to be having.” 

New mum Anna, who had a baby in April

The results

  • A quarter said that concerns about their health and their baby’s safety was the reason for not leaving the house now lockdown is easing.
  • A fifth did not feel confident enough to leave the house.
  • Almost half did not know anyone they could meet up with.
  • Almost half did not fully understand what they’re allowed to do now that restrictions are easing.
  • Over half have not done any virtual activities, which are widely recommended for expectant and new parents to connect.

We know that some new mums and pregnant women may feel too overwhelmed currently to begin easing lockdown life. This is completely natural after such a worrying period of time. Everyone should go at their own pace when figuring out what activities they feel comfortable doing. The important thing is to not put any pressure on yourself. But if you are missing that interaction and feel it is affecting your wellbeing, it’s important to find a way to connect comfortably and safely through following government guidelines.

“We're hearing from many new and expectant parents who aren’t sure where to go for support in lockdown. Tommy's midwives and other healthcare professionals are still here for anyone struggling with physical or mental health concerns during pregnancy and after birth. Informal and peer support is really important too, but the pandemic has made it harder to build that network of ‘mum friends’, so we’re keen to help kickstart those connections with our fantastic online community. It’s understandable to be anxious but there are lots of ways for mums to socialise safely.”  

 

Kate, Tommy’s Midwifery Manager

Socialising with other mums, either through online or socially distanced meet ups, can help you realise that you are not alone in your feelings and concerns. They will often understand parts of day to day life that some other friends and family may not. For those who feel comfortable and eager to connect with other mums, the Mush app is a great way to make those connections. Mush suggests socially distanced buggy walks and outdoor picnics as ways for mums to get together safely while following the latest government guidelines.

“Getting out and seeing other women going through the same thing as you makes a huge difference to your ability to cope with the huge transition to motherhood, let alone enjoy it! We heard from our community how hard it has been for them in the last few months, and we want to make sure they know that now is the time to safely start socialising again, and reaping the benefits from a peer support network. Don’t let not knowing anyone yet stop you; Mush is designed exactly for mums to find others like them.” 

 

Katie Massie-Taylor, Mush founder

To find local women at the same stage of pregnancy or with a baby the same age, download the free Mush app or look up #mushmums on social media.

We also have a mental wellbeing app that can help you identify and build your support network. Find more information on our 'Your Baby's Mum' campaign

If you feel you may need more support, you can contact our midwives by emailing [email protected] (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm). 

Is it safe to go out if I am pregnant or have a new baby?

There is no evidence that pregnant women are more likely to get seriously ill from COVID-19. Pregnant women have been included in moderate risk (clinically vulnerable) category as a precaution.

Pregnant women should follow the latest government guidance on staying alert and safe (social distancing). They should avoid anyone who has symptoms of possible COVID-19. If you are in your third trimester (more than 28 weeks’ pregnant) you should pay particular attention to social distancing and hygiene measures.

If you are pregnant and have significant heart disease, you should continue to take the precautions outlined in updated guidance. We have more information about guidelines around COVID-19.

Children, including newborn babies, do not seem to be at high risk of becoming seriously unwell with the COVID-19. The government has published guidance on meeting people outside your household which should be followed at all times. 

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