Welcome to the first in a series of blog posts designed to provide information and support to families here in Gloucestershire. This week’s guest is Jules, an NHS midwife and antenatal class instructor at The Baby Journey.
Hello, it’s Jules from The Baby Journey talking all about having your baby in lockdown.
Firstly, I want to make sure that any pregnant women out there know that is really, really important to attend all of your planned midwife, obstetrician and scan appointments. At the moment you’re being asked to attend those appointments on your own but that doesn’t mean that, for a routine appointment with your midwife, you can’t FaceTime your partner, make a phone call or record anything so that you can share that with your birth partner. I believe that you’re not supposed to do that during scan appointments, but you are being given some free photographs of the baby as a way of compensating for the fact that you need to attend those appointments on your own.
Some of your appointments, perhaps at the hospital for checkups with your obstetrician, may well be changed and moved to a telephone call. In which case, they’ll contact you and let you know that you need to have that. It’s important that you’re seen or that you’re spoken to, and that you’ve got the chance to talk through any concerns that you may have and ask any questions that you’ve got. The team are there to support you and to continue to do all of those antenatal checks that need to be done.
It’s also really important that you monitor baby’s movements. If you have any concerns at all that your baby isn’t moving and that their pattern of movement has changed, it’s really important that you give the 24 hour number at your local hospital a ring. There’s always a midwife to talk to and there’s always going to be someone that’s available to see you 24 hours a day if you’re concerned at all.
When you do go and see the staff at the hospital or when you come in when you’re in labour, they’re probably going to look a bit different… Unfortunately you’re not going to be able to see their big smiles underneath their masks and goggles or visor. They’ll be wearing their uniform, an apron and gloves and so they may look a little intimidating. The staff are very hot and sweaty under all that, but are very willing and wanting to look after you and your little family. We just need to be able to wear that equipment to protect you and to protect us during this COVID-19 situation. So please don’t be afraid of the PPE.
A massive thank you to everyone that sent in cotton bags for us to take our uniform home in, as well as the masks and the little holders for the back of our hair for the mask to attach to. Those sorts of things have just been brilliant and everyone’s very grateful.
At the moment, they’re advising at most large maternity units that we limit the amount of time that birth partners can spend in the maternity unit. There’s normally no birth partners allowed on the maternity ward, or perhaps during your induction process, and I know that that’s really hard and will worry some of you, but it’s really important that you write those concerns down or talk to your community midwife so that you can have that little bit of reassurance. You’re still able to use your mobile phone to talk to your birth partner or FaceTime them, and we’ve had lots of stories of dads and birth partners Facetiming from their cars or outside, eagerly waiting to be able to bring you and their new family home.
So if you’ve got worries, talk to your midwife about it at your routine appointments and, hopefully those changes will be reversed as quickly as they came in, as soon as it’s deemed safe and the best thing to do. The midwives, obstetricians and the whole maternity team are 100% there for you.
The Baby Journey is still running our classes online, offering classes for first-time parents and for those that have got little people already and whose family is getting bigger. We have courses for first-time parents and refresher courses starting on the 1st and 2nd June and we’ve got room if you’d like to join us. We’ve had some lovely feedback about our online classes, with people saying that they feel like they’re part of a community. We know that that information is important now more than ever, as well as having a group of people that are all going through this at the same time as you. We’ve had couples who’ve had their babies that have then fed back to the other couples that it was fine, that they were well cared for and the midwives and the team were there for them. There’s nothing like someone else in the same boat as you going through that experience, feeling that they were well looked after and you feeling really reassured by that.
So if you’ve got any concerns, chat to us, chat to the midwives, and if you’re looking for some classes, fear not – we’re running full steam ahead with our online version. We like to call it Baby Journey Gogglebox-style, because we can see all on your sofas with your mug of tea and the dogs, and a pack of biscuits and that has made me and Hannah smile throughout this! We are hoping to be teaching face-to-face again by the end of the summer, as soon as the restrictions left and it’s deemed safe for us to do so.
If you’re planning on using a TENS machine as pain relief during labour, we have TENS machines that you can hire from us. Just get in contact with us at [email protected].
We have to use the technology available to us to help us through this really difficult time. Reach out to people around you for that little bit of support. There are also lots of podcasts, online books, tutorials and YouTube videos on everything from perineal massage to receiving support breastfeeding – for example, Gloucestershire Breastfeeding Support Network are offering Zoom sessions to new mums. There’s lots of help, support and love out there. We will look after you during this difficult time.
Thank you very much for reading, and I really look forward to seeing some of you soon. If you need any advice or want any help with anything, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
I chose The Baby Journey for my antenatal classes back in 2017 and I was so pleased that I did. Jules was my class instructor at the time and prepared us all for what was to come – in a hilarious and down to earth way. I would highly recommend booking onto their classes – and if you’d like to ask me any specific questions before booking, feel free to get in touch.