ByMySide birthing partner campaign launched to raise awareness during the pandemic
Social media users have been urged to share their birth stories as mothers continue to face scans and labour alone.
A new campaign called #ByMySide has been launched by MUTU System, the ante- and postnatal health platform led by maternal health expert Wendy Powell. It urges mothers to share their stories on social media with a particular focus on the importance of their birthing partner – regardless of how long has passed since you gave birth.
The campaign asks you to post a picture of your partner, either during the birth of your baby or today, accompanied with a message of gratitude for how important they were in supporting you through the entire pregnancy period and what it meant to have them by your side.
This campaign launches simultaneously to continued reports across the UK regarding the number of expectant mothers facing scans and labour alone during the pandemic, and aims to shed light on the important role of a birthing partner as an advocate, support pillar and voice for pregnant women. Last week The Guardian reported the following:
- Three-quarters of NHS trusts are not allowing birth partners to support mothers throughout their whole labour, despite being told by the NHS and the Prime Minister that they must urgently change the rules around visiting.
- According to data collected for 144 trusts in England, Scotland and Wales, half of the trusts and health boards covered were restricting partners from attending at least two of three key moments: the 12-week scan, the 20-week scan and the duration of labour.
- As of Wednesday 23rd September, in 50 per cent of cases women have to go to their first 12-week scan alone, while 40 per cent of women have to attend the 20-week scan – which identifies potential anomalies – without their partner because of continuing coronavirus restrictions.
- Just 23 per cent of trusts are allowing a birthing partner to be present at the hospital for the duration of labour, only allowing support in the later “established” phase.
Wendy Powell, who endured a complicated labour in 2007, has been vocal in the media regarding birthing partners and the potential implications of women facing important scans and periods of labour alone. Earlier this month, she told the BBC that women are missing out on having an advocate to communicate their fears, anxieties and comfortabilities which results in feeling out of control and disempowered and could lead to an increase in postnatal depression.
MUTU System is a digital programme approved by NHS Digital and used by over 70,000 women in more than 150 countries, previously including Kate Middleton and P!NK. They are referred to by specialist Pelvic Health Physical Therapists, Surgeons, NHS GP surgeries in the UK, Midwives and Hospital Women’s Health Physiotherapists. During the pandemic, MUTU System launched a pilot study with a regional NHS Trust (Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital) to provide women with digital postpartum support.