The challenges a mother faces giving birth in the time of Covid-19

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A bitter sweet experience of a mother who gave birth during COVID

A 24-year old teacher from East London, has had a bittersweet experience giving birth to her first child during this pandemic.   

Makala Christian-Gillin, went into labour on April 7 at 7am, and during this time she made several trips to Newham University Hospital, but she was turned away.

Makala was eventually admitted to Newham University Hospital later that evening and gave birth to a healthy baby girl. She was then discharged seven hours later.

She intends to a submit a formal complaint because she believes a crucial check wasn’t carried out by nursing staff.

She told Birmingham Eastside: “They did not perform a hearing test on the day my child was born which is compulsory for newborns.”

Makala Christian-Gillin

Newham University Hospital was inspected by Care Quality and Commission in October last year.

Inspectors reported that improvements were required in its Maternity Unit to protect the security of new-born babies, and at the hospital overall. That came after a warning notice and an ‘Inadequate’ rating at a previous inspection in 2015.

The report went on to say ‘We had serious concerns that systems to assess, monitor, and mitigate risks to patients receiving care and treatment were not operating effectively. We also had concerns that governance systems and processes were not operating effectively.”

Makala spent parts of her labour alone, but depending on hospital rules, women are allowed to have their partner with them throughout the experience.  

Midwife Sophie Adams

Sophie Adams is a midwife at Southmead Hospital in Bristol. She tries to dispell myths around the birthing process using her personal social media accounts.

She claims that whilst “most appointments will not change to ensure the safety of the mother and the baby, guidelines may differ depending on the hospital. It is important to keep updated on the local hospital policy around birth partners.”

According to Sophie, changes are being made, for example, many women are being asked to wait in their car instead of waiting rooms.

A recent survey by the RCM found that 20% of midwife roles are currently unfilled because of self-isolation, coronavirus or existing staff shortages.

Midwives have stopped home visits due to the high risks of contracting COVID 19.

It is currently still a significant risk bringing newborn babies to the clinic for check ups as they may be in contact with other mums who could have the virus.  

The NHS has recently released a Youtube video guiding pregnant women on the steps they need to make during this pandemic .

Giving birth during a pandemic does not end when you get home , given the lockdown rules, many families will not meet new arrivals for weeks, if not months. 

Makala has informed her family about her birth she says ” I can’t wait until they see the baby she’s a case she bosses me around, “ for now, her family members will have to be content with seeing pictures and receiving FaceTime calls. 

But as the fight against the virus continues, many mothers all over the globe have proven that giving birth can be done safely during these hard times.

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