Pandemic pregnancies and midwives’ support
It’s fair to say that, for those women who have been pregnant and given birth during the pandemic, this hasn’t been quite what they had planned. Despite the challenges, though, one thing has been constant: the care and support of midwives and MSWs. Through the RCM's Alliance partner, Emma's Diary, many of them have chosen to share their stories.
For Amy and Sean, the unpredictability of 2020 became very personal, when Sean delivered their daughter Lila in the car on the way to the maternity unit at Worcester Royal Hospital. "When we eventually got to the hospital, I could not fault the midwives at all. The care was superb," said Amy. She heaps praise on the maternity team saying, "They were amazing and I was so grateful to be treated like that especially after the birth I had. I also think it contributed to how well I felt afterwards and even though my birth didn't go as planned and was really scary, I still look at it as a positive experience because of them."
In November, Samantha had a water birth at home in Hull and praised the continuity of carer she received, seeing the same three midwives through her pregnancy and after the birth. “Seeing a familiar face walking through my door when I was at my most vulnerable was a massive relief,” said Samantha who welcomed baby Eden. “Seeing the same midwives and having such a positive birth which was supported by all the health care professionals I saw has had a positive impact on my mental health.”
Birte Harlev-Lam, Executive Director for Professional leadership at the RCM, said she was incredibly proud of the midwives, maternity support workers and their colleagues who had delivered such wonderful care despite the significant pressures and changes caused by the pandemic. “As a midwife your whole focus is on ensuring the women in your care are safe, supported and having the best possible birth experience, along with their partners and families. These stories and the women’s comments brought tears to my eyes and remind me just why we are doing this job. Every woman is unique, and every birth is unique, as all these stories show. It’s our job to make sure as far as humanly possible that women like all of those sharing their stories get the birth experience they want.”
Midwife Stacey, at Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital, made such a great impression on Molly from Portsmouth during her first pregnancy, she asked for her again for her second pregnancy. When her contractions started early one morning, Molly had concerns about her baby’s movements, she rang the labour line and was advised to go straight to the maternity unit. “I felt so safe and looked after by the team, so I wasn’t worried about my husband not being there with me at this point,” she said. “They waited for him to arrive before popping my waters and by 9:10pm our daughter was born... I cannot fault the team at all. They gave me the most amazing birth experience and made me feel so safe and looked after during my entire pregnancy.”
Emma’s Diary collected the stories via their website here, and Faye Mingo, Chief Marketing Officer at Emma’s Diary said; “The pandemic has been a scary time, especially for mums-to-be, so it’s amazing to hear from our mums about the important role midwives and Emma’s Diary have continued to play in supporting pregnant women.”