new parents gaze at newborn from above

What is it Like Giving Birth During Lockdown?

When you are getting close to your due date you will have a number of feelings…..excitement at meeting your gorgeous baby, nervousness about the delivery, apprehension about the lack of sleep as that’s what everyone warns you about! It’s all natural…..I have been there three times!

Currently, there is the additional worry of coronavirus. It is so prominent in all of our lives at the moment and even more so with expectant parents. With this in mind, we have spoken to a few of the new mums who will be visiting the studio as soon as we are open again for newborn experiences and a midwife who is currently based in Queens Hospital, Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire.

We have asked mums how they found delivering their babies during lockdown and asked for a midwife’s perspective of the current situation. We hope it will help to allay some of your fears if you are due to deliver in the next few weeks.

The Hospital Experience During Labour

The overall consensus from mums we have spoken to is the midwives are doing an amazing job at supporting mums-to-be during labour, perhaps even more so than normal (if that is possible). In most hospitals, dads-to-be are not allowed to stay during the early stages of labour.

One of our lovely new mums said she wasn’t really concerned until she went into hospital and had to leave dad-to-be at the door. She was being induced and she said it was at that point she felt apprehensive. She was going into Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham and she said the midwives made her feel much more settled. They were there to support her and she felt she almost had extra care as her partner wasn’t there. The midwives made sure they had all dad-to-be’s phone number and made it really clear they would call him as soon as mum was being moved to the delivery suite.

Similarly, a mum who delivered at the Derby Royal, Derbyshire said dads-to-be were allowed in the delivery room or in the theatre if it was a C-section, just not on the ward.

Additional Safety Protection

Hospitals are generally asking that mums-to-be and new mums to wear masks when not in their own individual bay as an added safety precaution. They also ask for cubicle curtains to remain pulled closed as additional protection. The staff are generally wearing personal protection equipment (PPE), including face masks, aprons and gloves on the wards, with full PPE in theatres.

Mum and dad usually have to wear a mask in theatre but can remove them in recovery. All the staff do appreciate that it is possibly scarier when they are wearing full PPE and do make every effort to reassure you throughout.

During Delivery and Afterwards

In general, dads-to-be are allowed in the delivery suite. Again, speaking to one of our new mum’s experience at Heartlands, dad was allowed into the maternity unit once mum was in the delivery suite. Mum delivered by C-section and dad could stay for about 45 minutes after their baby’s arrival before he had to leave. Although this felt odd, the midwives made sure mum had every support available.

The breastfeeding support was fantastic, and she felt really well looked after. At Heartlands, they are tending to try and discharge within 6 hours for routine deliveries and 12-24 hours for C-section deliveries. This obviously varies for each individual new mum, but it gives an idea of how long you might expect to be in the hospital.

In Derby Royal, where possible they try and discharge mum and baby from the labour ward if at all possible. One of our lovely new mums, who was giving birth to her second baby said it was much quieter than when she had her first baby. She did say that, although she missed having dad there and not being able to have visitors and show off their new baby, it was lovely to spend extra ‘mum and baby’ time together. It also made it easier to rest and recover as you were less tired from entertaining and also less conscious of looking your best at all times for visitors!

Additional Tips for Your Hospital Stay

One of the mums we spoke to did give a few additional tips which I think are absolutely brilliant!

With not having your partner there it means you are reliant on the nursing staff for help. She did say don’t be afraid to ask for anything as all the staff are amazing. She said she even had to ask them to pick up socks at one point! Her top tip was to have your hospital bag well organised. She saw one new mum had everything in little pouches, which made it super easy to find what she wanted. This is particularly helpful if you have had a C-section. Again, mum said at one point, she had to ask the health care assistant to rummage through her whole bag to find her wash bag!

A Midwife’s Perspective from Queens Hospital, Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire

We have also spoken to Corinne, who is a midwife currently based at Queen’s Hospital in Staffordshire. She has given us a wonderful insight into what it is like giving birth during the current pandemic from a midwife’s perspective. Here’s what Corinne told us:

‘Hi, my name is Corinne and I’m a midwife that under normal circumstances would be based at Samuel Johnson Midwife Led Unit in Lichfield, Staffordshire. Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, me and my team have needed to be redeployed to Queens Hospital in Burton-upon-Trent in order to support the staff there. I just wanted to offer a few words of reassurance and advice to all of the families that are going through pregnancy and birth in these worrying and unprecedented times.

There have been lots of changes made within the hospital that most of you will be well aware of by now. The antenatal clinic that ladies attend either for scans or to see consultants are now restricted to the ladies only and unfortunately partners are unable to attend. This is obviously to protect all that attend from coming into contact with too many people and if the appointment is for your 20-week scan the sonographers will happily write the gender of your baby down for you so that you can learn and share the news of your baby’s gender with your family later on. There are now also lots of telephone consultations from midwives and consultants so it may be that your appointment is carried out for you in this way.

On delivery suite, there is one birth partner allowed at all times and this includes in theatre, including elective caesarean sections. Whilst in recovery following surgery your partner can also stay with you. Sadly, there are still no birth partners allowed onto the wards. I must reassure you that every midwife is aware of how difficult this is for mums who have just given birth and every effort is made to make sure that you feel cared for, safe and supported. PPE is available should you and your partner wish to wear it but is not compulsory for you as every person is looked after with plenty of distance from anyone else. Hygiene standards are strictly met with everything cleaned down after every use and plenty of hand sanitiser is always provided.

Yes, we do have to wear masks, aprons and safety glasses or visors at all times, which I have to add goes against everything we know, when a smile, a friendly face and a big hug is often what you need and what we want to be able to do. But we can still 100% be there for you….to listen to you and be your advocate. To help in the middle of the night with those feeds. To give you all the care and encouragement you need and answer any question, however big or small. And we can certainly get you on those all-important facetime chats with your partner, children and family members.

The word ‘midwife’ means ‘with woman’ and rest assured that even through a pandemic, we will always make it our mission to stand by your side and ensure that you have the best birth experience possible.

Sending lots of love and the very best of wishes throughout your pregnancy, birth and beyond.’

Your Newborn Photography Experience

You might wonder how we are dealing with our newborn photography experiences during coronavirus. Whilst we like to normally welcome newborn babies in the first 10 days to 2 weeks, we can still capture wonderful portraits with older babies. Do read our earlier blog entitled ‘Can We Have a Newborn Photoshoot When Our Baby is Older than 2 Weeks Old’ for more information.

What we have been offering our newborn experience clients, who can’t come to the studio in the first couple of weeks, is to ‘walk’ them through capturing their first few newborn images at home. These images can then be sent through to me and I can edit them into our studio backdrops.

The images aren’t quite the same as those captured in the studio, but they still make a wonderful memory of when your baby is still very tiny. We can then add these to the gallery we capture once we can welcome mum, dad, baby and siblings if necessary, to the studio. The portraits we then capture in the studio will complement the initial images captured at home beautifully and make a collection of perfect treasured memories.

So How Do We capture Our First Few Images at Home?

We have put together an app, which new mums and dads can download onto their phones. It talks through lighting, simple posing and essential safety precautions. It also explains how to send images through to us for editing into our studio backdrops. We then schedule a Zoom call to talk you through the posing in real-time and help you make the most of what you have at home.

Remember to Enjoy Every Second of This Incredibly Special Time

I hope the information above has been of help and has given you useful information about giving birth during this very unusual time. These times may not be quite what you had in mind when you fell pregnant, but they are still very special times. Please do try and enjoy every second as it will fly by so quickly and before you know it your gorgeous newborn baby is growing up. I should know, my gorgeous ‘babies’ are now 11, 9 and 7!

For more information about our newborn photography experiences please do get in touch.

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