“Giving birth during Covid-19”

Chrissy Helena, 21, Berkhamsted (UK)

I am training as a midwife in a hospital in England. We used to be very comfortable with patients, but now we are trying to socially distance and we have to wear a lot of Personal Protection Equipment — masks etc… This really puts a bit of a barrier up and it feels very unnatural in what should be a natural environment.

When women come in, they get tested for coronavirus and so do their partners. If the results come back negative, partners can hang around after the birth too so that they can support the woman during the day. But at first it was a matter of the woman having the partner there only for the actual birth. This was because after the women have had their baby they go on a postnatal ward where there will be other mothers and  unless the covid status of the partner was known they wouldn’t be able to visit.

Normally midwives will see women a number of times postnatally, but we are reducing that contact to being telephone conversations, which is a bit hard. Women can still come in if necessary, although reducing that contact time is truly aimed at protecting everyone.

I can tell that it’s nerve-racking to be pregnant at the moment. You have to isolate as if you had an illness or a comorbidity. It’s just additional anxiety. Women definitely need extra support from friends and family.

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