Daily LIfe Your Health

The stress of giving birth under lockdown

The stress of giving birth under lockdown

Having a baby is always nerve-racking – and women now have unexpected worries to contend with. New mothers share their stories of ‘incredible’ midwives, and the joy and pain of giving birth during a pandemic

Helen Simmons, a 28-year-old film producer from London, went into labor with her second child on the evening of 30 March – exactly a week after Boris Johnson announced a nationwide lockdown. “It felt like a 1960s-style birth,” she jokes.

She arrived at the Royal Free hospital with her husband, Charles, at 5.30am the following day. “We were hoping for the best,” Simmons says. Instead, Charles was sent home because of new visitor restrictions brought about by the outbreak, and Simmons was sent to a labor ward on her own. She was hungry – she hadn’t brought brought enough food with her – so Charles dropped some off and stayed with her for a few hours before being ordered to leave again.

For the next 10 hours, Simmons was in labour alone and Charles was relegated to a waiting room outside, like a Mad Men-era husband. It was tough. “The hardest bit of labour isn’t the pushing,” Simmons says. “It’s the contractions. And doing that alone … you don’t realise you need your partner so much, emotionally and physically, until you can’t have that person there with you.”

After a 30-hour labour, the majority of that time spent alone, their daughter, Isla, was born on 1 April at 4.40am. Charles was allowed in to watch Isla being born before being ushered out. It certainly wasn’t the birth they had hoped for or planned. Yet Simmons feels the experience meant she discovered an inner strength she hadn’t known she had. “It gave me a newfound respect for women through history,” she says.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, pregnant women across the country will be wondering how it will affect them. “It’s an anxious time for pregnant women,” says Maria Booker of the charity Birthrights. “They are concerned about whether their partner can stay with them or what the birth will be like.”

At the moment, according to official guidance, no British woman should have to give birth alone. “Visiting is restricted to help stop the spread of coronavirus,” says NHS England, “but our guidance is absolutely clear that a specific exception should be made for birthing partners when a woman is in labour.” The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) guidelines state that partners may not be able to accompany women during their induction and the early stages of labour because of physical distancing guidelines. But it adds: “At the point you go into active labour, you will be moved to your own room and your birth partner will be able to join you.” Provided, of course, they are not showing any signs of illness. No visitors are allowed post-birth.

But there is a degree of confusion about how the rules are being enforced by different trusts. Simmons spent most of her labour alone, but others have partners with them throughout. A business owner from London, Naomi Edmondson, 29, gave birth to a baby boy at St Mary’s hospital in Paddington on 31 March. Her husband, Ally, was allowed to stay with her throughout her planned C-section.

What may be noticeable to mothers giving birth, however, is that hospitals seem emptier. A recent survey by the RCM found that 20% of midwife roles are currently unfilled because of self-isolation, coronavirus or existing staff shortages. Last week, Lynsay Coventry, 54, died at the Princess Alexandra hospital in Harlow, Essex. She was the first midwife to die of Covid-19, showing the risks healthcare professionals are taking when carrying out their jobs.

Comments (16)

  1. I do not even know the way I ended up here, however I believed this put up was good. Leesa Ralph Lesley

  2. I have been browsing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all site owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be much more useful than ever before.| Elsie Lou Peppel

  3. I am not really good with English but I line up this real leisurely to interpret. Eddie Tony Tymothy

  4. Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a handful of unrelated data, nonetheless truly worth taking a appear, whoa did one particular study about Mid East has got additional problerms also Nat Arlan Barton

  5. Can I simply say what a reduction to seek out someone who truly is aware of what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know easy methods to bring a problem to gentle and make it important. Extra folks must learn this and understand this facet of the story. I cant consider youre no more common since you positively have the gift. Eudora Evelyn Nanny

  6. Awesome blog . I look forward to see it improve ongoing. Great post! Some nice points there. I bet seasoned Blog professionals would like your blogs. Joan Ev Gonroff

  7. I used to be able to find good information from your articles. Nicol Niven Breanne

  8. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vivamus aliquet blandit rutrum. Vivamus felis velit, porta vitae dapibus quis, lacinia eget urna. Nam eget massa vel velit viverra pretium vel elementum purus. Susana Roy Brenton

  9. Magnificent beat ! I would like to apprentice at the same time as you amend your site, how can i subscribe for a weblog website? Matty Alyosha Timothea

  10. Some really choice articles on this web site , saved to my bookmarks . Linell Minor Collen

  11. Hi fantastic blog! Does running a blog such as this require a massive amount work? I have very little expertise in computer programming but I had been hoping to start my own blog in the near future. Anyway, if you have any ideas or tips for new blog owners please share. I know this is off topic nevertheless I simply needed to ask. Thanks! Stefa Orrin Steel

  12. Hola Marisa!! Pues ya sabes,, a ponerte manos a la obra. Al final aunque es cierto que hay que aprender muchas cosas, la verdad es que es sencillo ir poco a poco implementando y sobre todo disfrutar de los resultados.. Quiero ver crecer tu marca como la espuma!! Bird Donnie Medora

  13. Hi my name is Jeffrey and I work for Quantico Marine Base in VA I am a civ that works for the Marines Base /DoD I will like to know if I am Eligible to be come a member I am looking for Home Owners ins. Barbaraanne Zacharie Derby

  14. Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful post. Thanks for supplying this information. Maurizia Gardie Hubble

  15. I am really enjoying the theme/design of your website. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility problems? A couple of my blog audience have complained about my website not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Firefox. Do you have any solutions to help fix this issue?| Drusy Rancell Charlean

  16. I really appreciate this post. I have been looking everywhere for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You have made my day! Thanks again! Lindi Denys Herb

Leave your thought here

E-posta hesabınız yayımlanmayacak.