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giving birth during a pandemic

Preparing for birth and giving birth brings on many anxieties and worries, let alone when doing both of these during a pandemic. We understand just how many questions must be running through your mind right now about how you’re going to bring your little one into the world, and that’s why we’re dedicated to bringing you the most reassuring and accurate information, provided by medical experts.

From what we’ve read and found out from those experts, everything will be okay and your little one will be healthy as long as you take the correct precautions and follow the guidelines which have been advised.

question: If I have COVID-19 can my baby contract the virus during birth or in the womb?

There is currently no evidence that suggests the virus can be transmitted from a mother who has tested positive for COVID-19 to a baby during labour.

Although there is speculation from some sources that this might be the case, there is no evidence that has shown this.

It cannot yet be ruled out that babies can contract it in utero, but there has not yet been definitive evidence either way.

The medical professionals continue to test and monitor this situation as aspects develop.

There is no current evidence to suggest that coronavirus increases the risk of miscarriage or birth defects, however it known that risks are increased in similar viruses such as SARS and MERS.

It is important that you follow guidelines and speak with your midwife regarding any concerns you may have.

question: Can my newborn baby contract COVID-19?

Yes, your newborn baby can contract the virus if they are exposed to it. However, there is currently no evidence to suggest when they would have contracted the virus.

The most recent case of a baby contracting the virus was in a case in a London hospital and both mum and baby are currently in a stable condition.

If you have suspected or confirmed coronavirus at the time your baby is born, then your baby will be tested for the virus very soon after you have given birth.

question: Do I have to have my birth in a hospital?

Since the news regarding coronavirus, many people have wanted to change to a home birth to avoid having to go to the hospital. In some cases this will be possible, however, in certain areas home births are not possible, even for those who had planned them prior.

Home births rely on resources including having a midwife present and also there being enough ambulances in case you are needed to be taken to hospital. Considering the current circumstances many midwives are not able to attend homes, and ambulances are a sparse resource.

If you do want to consider a home birth it’s worth checking with your midwife on the situation in your area. If it is still an option available, you’ll only be allowed this if you have a low-risk pregnancy. We recommend speaking with your midwife and finding out the current situation.

question: Am I still allowed to take my birthing partner with me?

Many women are currently experiencing a lot of worries regarding being able to have a birthing partner with them. The good news is that you are still being encouraged to have a birth partner present with you during your labour and your birth.

Having a birth partner present during labour is very important to the wellbeing of women in labour and can also help to prevent PTSD which can occur if a woman doesn’t have her support there. At current, the only time you might not be able to have your birth partner with you is if they have coronavirus symptoms, as this put you, the baby and everyone else in the hospital at risk but you would be able to take someone else with you instead.

The only other reports of women having to give birth alone is those who may have their birth partner looking after other children at home, but again, if you can take someone else (from your household) then you should do so.

question: What happens when I leave hospital and go home with my baby?

Once you are dismissed from the hospital with your baby, you should self-isolate with little one and your birthing partner for 14 days.

To ensure the safety of your baby and your family, you should not have any visitors come to see little one as you must adhere to the social distancing rules.

We know that this might cause some distress for yourself and your family, but safety comes first.

We’ve seen some beautiful and inventive ways of family visitings new babies including through the window visits. We know it’s not the same, but just remember they will be able to meet your little one as soon as everything is better, and things will get better.

question: How do I get support during this time?

We know this is an exceptionally tough time to be going through and just how hard it is becoming a mama when the world seems a little confusing and scary.

If you need support and guidance during this time we recommend reaching out to your midwife, GP or someone you can trust - that might be a friend, your partner or a family member.

They might not be able to stop what’s happening at the moment, but they will be able to offer some kind words and give you another person to talk to during this period.

how we are helping

We at MORI are going to be helping you through this period by providing advice from relevant sources and medical professionals to ensure you feel supported. As part of this we will also be hosting digital events on our Instagram channel every week with talks from Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, Sleep Experts, Mental Health advocates and more.

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