pregnancy

From a midwife: A message for any pregnant woman whose plans have gone out the window.

You’re pregnant and life should be all about YOU.

You and your baby should be the most important thing in the world right now, but about four weeks ago something changed. COVID-19 has not only stolen your limelight, it has taken over and, in its rampage, squashed so many of the hopes and dreams you had for this pregnancy and birth.

I want you to know, I am so sorry.

Watch: Things you aren’t told when you’re giving birth. Post continues below.

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I’m sorry so much has changed and is now out of your control. I’m sorry your pregnancy care, midwives and doctors don’t look like they are meant to.

I’m sorry your baby showers have been cancelled and your labour and birth support has been limited.

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I’m sorry your doulas, birth photographers and other support people aren’t able to be there with you at your birth and meet your baby.

I’m sorry your newborn bubble won’t have your village physically in it, with grandparent snuggles and fresh sibling introductions.

I’m sorry your maternity leave won’t be filled with mums’ groups and long café catch ups.

The physical social aspects of life are temporarily on hold. And whilst we’re grateful those unwanted belly rubs are banned, that love, care and touch that we need and want during this time is not allowed.

Technology is amazing and eases the pain, but nothing beats human touch. Nor does anything compare to witnessing your loved ones, in person, meeting the delicious human you’ve just created.

Their faces lighting up like a million stars as your newborn’s tiny hand wraps around their finger.

When choices are taken away from you, it’s normal to feel vulnerable, worried, anxious and helpless but this isn’t how you should be feeling right now. So, we’ve put together the information you need to know with some tips on how to bring that focus back to you during this time.

 

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What to do when your plans go out the window.

Be informed – knowledge is power and we live in a world where it is at our fingertips, but what knowledge should you be accessing?

Make sure you are reading information from credible sources, that are backed by evidence. Evidence-based birth and the Association of Ontario midwives are two great free resources where you can obtain evidence-based information.

Stay involved – while most face to face events have been cancelled, most things have quickly moved online and are still happening from online birth classes, telehealth physiotherapy appointments, online pregnancy exercise classes and Zoom mums groups!

There are also a lot of new initiatives being started and many that are for free. I’m currently offering free antenatal classes live via Facebook for everyone.

Be inventive – your birth room is yours whilst you are in it, so play the music you want, wear your own clothes, have the lights low, pop on some fake candles (real ones aren’t often allowed in hospitals), FaceTime your doula or other support people, and ask your midwife or partner to take photos.

Exercise during pregnancy prepares you for labour and birth. It can also help to reduce anxiety and depression, back and pelvic pain, incontinence, insomnia, and it’s a great boost to your energy levels.

 

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100% of you voted for an exercise post so here it is team! I’ll admit, I was braless and in the same trackies that I’d slept in AND worn yesterday prior to making this. I’m deep in marking university papers atm and haven’t been moving like I should. So THANK YOU for the encouragement! Sound on for some guidance and to hear my awesome voice. Otherwise mute me and just move along! Do just the 8 minutes or complete as a circuit. Foam roll or stretch after. Any questions please just ask xx B . . . . . #homeworkout #getactive #feelingfit #moveyourbody #strongmum #healthymum #healthymom #strongmum #fitmum #fitmom #mumlife #activefamily #womenshealth #lowimpact #embracemovement #embraceyourself #bodypostivity #activewear

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Get support – postnatal midwives and doulas provide families with expertise and support as they adjust to the arrival of a new baby. Midwives can provide individualised clinical care and support for you and your newborn for the first six weeks post birth.

A postnatal doula will provide moral and practical support that’s tailored to your needs. They can provide nourishing nutrient dense food, provide support for older siblings, sleep and settling assistance, run errands and complete household chores and most importantly enable you to rest.

You may also want to engage with a pregnancy and birth counsellor or psychologist to talk through how you are feeling with everything occurring, or to debrief a previous birth or postnatal experience.

Rest! There is a beautiful recommendation that postnatal life should look like this: 5 days in bed, 5 days on the bed and 5 days near the bed. Meaning you rarely leave your bedroom, you and baby sleep and feed and get to know each other.

Forced isolation means we may actually get the chance to do this. No unwanted visitors just popping over and waking up your baby that you just got to sleep or holding off a necessary breastfeed until people leave.

Most importantly, believe in yours and your baby’s ability. Your body and baby know what they need to do. You can, and will, give birth during this pandemic and you will be amazing.

Yes, the people and things that surround you are important and can make labour and motherhood easier or harder. But in the end, the mental and physical work that is required to bring your baby into the world and raise it, is done by you. It was always going to be done by you.

Your labour and birth should be the most empowering event of your entire life. You are meant to come out of it thinking: I just did that, now I can do this (motherhood).

So have faith in your healthcare system. Australia is, and will continue to be, one of the safest places to give birth. Get informed by the wealth of knowledge that is out there. Keep preparing yourself as you normally would and believe in your ability. You are going to be so much stronger for going through this.

You’ve got this – you always did!

Now, onto the information…

The facts for pregnant women.

It has been recommended by the World Health Organisation that for women birthing in hospitals, visitors and birth support people are restricted to one person per day.

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This is necessary to decrease the spread of the disease and means you are still allowed to have that one person there with you during your labour and birth.

You and your partner or primary support person, will be screened for coronavirus before or at the start of each appointment or presentation to the hospital.

This means you’ll be asked questions about whether you have been unwell, have recently returned from overseas or are in close contact with someone who has.

If your partner or primary support person has, or is suspected of having coronavirus, then you will need to choose a support person who is well.

Having an active labour (where you move around freely), using water during your labour and birth (shower and bath), epidurals, delayed cord clamping, skin to skin contact and initiation of breastfeeding should all be accessed as usual.

Where appropriate, it has been advised that women should leave hospital on early discharge (within 4 to 6 hours) with community support in place (midwives and maternal child health nurse care via telehealth and home visits).

If you’re a pregnant woman with – or suspected of having – COVID-19.

You do not need to have a caesarean section. A caesarean birth should only be performed when medically needed or chosen by the woman.

You can still touch and hold your newborn, have skin to skin contact, share a room with the baby and breastfeed if you wish to do so.

You should wear a mask whilst breastfeeding if possible.

Wash your hands before and after touching the baby.

You should routinely clean and disinfect surfaces you have touched.

Bernadette is a Midwife and the founder of Core and Floor Restore.  She has over 13 years experience working with women in labour and birth. She is passionate about every woman realising her true potential through birth and wants to ensure women, during this time of isolation, have access to evidence based information (that’s also fun and entertaining) to assist them to have an epic birth. 

Bernadette is offering free antenatal classes to help you get informed and ready for your labour and birth. Tune in on Tuesdays, from 8pm to 9pm AEST. Classes can be viewed live from the Core and Floor Restore Facebook page, starting from April 7.

You can follow her on Instagram here.

Feature image: Getty.

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