Those expecting babies have been given a helping hand during the lockdown by a virtual support network.
Nappy wipe brand WaterWipes has hosted its first #EarlyDaysClub Live, a live panel event hosted by comedian and busy parent Ellie Taylor, bringing new and expecting parents together to have open and honest conversations about parenthood.
Being a new parent is hard enough without a global pandemic but physical distancing doesn’t mean you have to go without that precious support network. #EarlyDaysClub is all about providing this at a time when it may not be available. It’s a place where there are no silly questions, myths are busted, taboos are tackled and questions answered by parents and healthcare professionals.
As a member of the #EarlyDaysClub, parents will get support through WaterWipes’ social channels and will be invited to attend live events. In the lead up to each event, parents can send in their questions by heading to WaterWipes on Instagram or Facebook.
Parents were able to tune in and have their questions answered on dealing with early parenting moments during COVID-19 by a star-studded parenting panel, including Myleene Klass, Ryan Thomas and healthcare professionals.
These are some of the top questions and advice that came out of the #EarlyDaysClub Live for new and expectant mums and dads from GP Dr Laura Lenihan and midwife Marie Louise – both of whom are pregnant.
How can I prepare for birth given everything that’s going on at the moment?
Expert midwife, Marie Louise (above) says: “It’s normal to feel anxious during pregnancy and of course given the current situation you may be feeling more anxious then normal. Spending 10 minutes a day to try and focus on your pregnancy and bonding with your baby can really help calm you down and get your mind ready for birth. There is lots of different advice out there but do what works best for you. I’m pregnant at the moment, and I’ve been finding hypnobirthing extremely helpful. You should also try and prepare your body for birth, so from 34 weeks it’s a good idea to ask your midwife what position your baby is in. Ideally you want your baby to be in what we describe as the OA position. This means your baby is looking towards your spine, with their chin tucked into their chest and have as much space as possible in the front of your pelvis. Remember, women have been giving birth for a long time and our bodies perform unbelievably well; COVID-19 won’t stop women giving birth. You’ve got this!”
Will my birth partner be able to attend the birth?
Expert midwife, Marie Louise said: “Currently the advice from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) is that birth partners can be there during active labour. However, this is subject to change and different hospitals will have different guidelines they’ll be following. The best thing you can do is ask your healthcare professional. As a midwife, I know it’s not ideal – and am sure it’s not what a lot of mums had planned. Rest assured though, it is really strongly encouraged by most hospitals that your birth partner is with you when you’re giving birth, as we understand that you need that support. If you’re birth partner is unable to be there, your midwife and delivery team, will be with you and will be able to support you.”
How will my appointments and visits with healthcare professionals change?
Expert GP Dr Laura Lenihan (above) says: “Appointments will vary across the country but the one thing I want to remind you of is that all healthcare professionals are still there for you. You will still be able to access all the services you usually have, they may just be a little bit busier than normal. GP surgeries are still open, health visitors are still working, and if you are pregnant, your midwife will be available to you as well. A healthcare professionals’ main job is to look after you and your baby and although this is not necessarily an easy time to navigate this, we are still there. Unfortunately, at some appointments like the 20 week scan, your partner won’t be able to join you. However, there is lots you can do to help them feel involved such as preparing questions for scans together, or having your partner on the phone during the appointment. Importantly, don’t let the current situation stop you from seeking medical advice and support if you need it.”
Is it safe to do skin to skin at the moment?
Marie Louise says: “Given the current situation you may be worried about being able to do skin to skin with your baby. However, there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to do this. Skin to skin is the best thing you can give your baby, and even if you are unable to hold your baby the minute they are born, it doesn’t matter – get up and close with your baby when you can.”
Am I at increased risk of coronavirus because I’m pregnant?
Lenihan says: “As a healthcare professional, I completely understand the anxiety around coronavirus. What I tell all my patients, and being pregnant myself, is that just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you’re at an increased risk. The isolation guidelines for pregnant women are a precaution, so try not to get anxious about the situation. Remember that services for parents and babies haven’t stopped and we’re keeping people as safe as we possibility can.”
How can I plan for the post-natal period during this time?
Lenihan says: “There is a lot of fear with mums at the moment around going for appointments; however all post-natal appointments will still be going ahead as your healthcare professional will want to ensure you and your baby are well. After birth, new mums aren’t being kept in hospital as long but this is only a precaution given the current situation. Please remember if you are at all concerned for your health after birth, to contact your healthcare professional as they will want to hear from you and ensure you’re looked after. The skills and knowledge of healthcare experts are very much still there.”