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It might be scary thinking about having a baby right now. The good news is, I’ve got some tips for you. Things are constantly changing for everyone, everywhere. Women are questioning how the pandemic will affect their birth outcomes. I’m here to give you some useful tips how to navigate this extremely special yet scary time in your life.
1. Adjust your expectations
Hospital policies are changing during the Coronavirus pandemic. Be prepared to adjust your expectations if you’re birthing in the hospital. Some hospitals need you to come in early in labor to have your COVID test done. Depending on your hospital policy you might have to stay in or you might have the option of going back home.
During labor, on admission into hospital, you will be asked to wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth. You will then be admitted into the Emergency Room, on your own, to make sure you show no signs of COVID. Here you will be asked to do a COVID test which might take anywhere from 24-48 hours for the final results. They will be tracking your contractions to see how your baby reacts to them. Here’s a video to help you breathe through your contractions while wearing a mask. This is temporary in most cases. I want you to know, you have a choice whether you want to wear a mask or not. Legally, they can’t force you to wear it. Your birth team will be wearing their masks at all times.
2. Water and Food
Let’s admit it, hospital food has never been great. During the pandemic some hospitals are offering a meal to birthing partners. There’s no guarantee on this. It would be good to ask your provider in advance. The first meal could consist of dry toast and tea. The birthing partners are not allowed to leave for food. I recommend you carry enough snacks with you (or food that won’t go off easily). One-hand snacks for during and after the birth can be handy. Take a look at my one-hand food suggestions here.
3. Your Birth Team (How they’re keeping you safe)
Your birth team will be wearing personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves and face shields. This might look scary but remember this is to keep you and your family safe. Touch is kept to a minimum while social distancing is respected where possible. You will be asked to wash and sanitize your hands. Depending on your facility, birthing pools might be out of the question at the moment.
4. Prenatal checkups
During the pandemic, prenatal checkups, have been kept to the minimum. There are different reasons for this. The public health system is very close to collapsing. There isn’t enough medical staff to take care of everyone right now and they’re trying to keep visits to a minimum. Having such a high rate of positive COVID cases, you want to avoid hospitals as much as possible. If your pregnancy is considered low risk, you will probably only see your gynecologist three to four times. If you have any concerns at all, please don’t hesitate to contact your provider.
5. Limitations on your support person
Only one birthing partner will be allowed. The birthing partner that you choose, won’t be able to leave the hospital room for the duration of the labor. If they decide to leave after the birth, they won’t be able to return.
6. Re-evaluate your choices
Perhaps you’ve toddled with the idea of birthing at home. If that’s the case, dive a little deeper into this. Talk to the midwives in your area and get to know them better. Find the birth team that suits your needs best and that you feel the most comfortable with. If safety is a concern, do more research into the safety of homebirth. Here are one of the most recent study on the safety of home birth. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190807190818.htm
I encourage you to think about how you want to experience your birth. What’s important for you during the labor? Once you have clarity on your goals, then you can make decisions with more confidence.
Mothers and babies of uncomplicated births are released after 24 hours in Catalunya, Spain. If you spend 24 hours in hospital. You will be entitled to two home visits or more if you are having any other complications. If you stayed in the hospital 48 hours you are still entitled to one home visit. Any hospital stays more than 48 hours won’t be given extra home visits. Once entitled to home visits you are provided with a mobile number to reach your midwifery team.
You might find a presential class, or you might prefer to stay home and attend an online course.
Here’s what to look for in a prenatal education course:
– Is it consistent with the type of birth you’re looking for? If you’re planning a home birth, you want to look into a more pro-natural provider. Avoid the more conventional hospital preparation courses.
– Choose a course that’s up to date with the latest research.
– It includes birth preparation, mental preparation, planning for the postpartum, infant feeding, and newborn care.
These are all the things we include in our Birth Like a Badass Preparation Course. This will help prepare you fully to welcoming your little babe into this world.