The Covid-19 pandemic has forced the whole world to adapt to new changes and in such a short period of time. From companies having to adapt to new working styles, business moving from modern to traditional as well as our healthcare system having to implement new regulations and practices to stop the spread of Covid-19.
For some healthcare providers, this includes implementing very strict regulations that may affect the birthing journey of a mother-to-be. Around the world, we hear of new mothers sharing their birth stories during this pandemic and this includes experiences that they would never have thought of including having to give birth without a birth partner to reduce the risk of an infection.
While hospitals around the nation have implemented its own set of rules, the ultimate question is, how do you stay positive during these changing times especially if you were suddenly told that your partner will not be able to be in the labour ward with you?
Nurse and midwife, Jennifer Hor, founder of Jenlia Maternal Services shares some important tips about how women can cope during this difficult times. Jennifer is also a Certified Trainer from the Institute of Training and Development in the United Kingdom as well as an accredited Primary Care Positive Parenting Programme Provider (Triple P) by the Parenting and Family Support Centre in Australia.
1Twenty80: During the crucial period of labour, how can a woman shift her thoughts to more positive ones?
Jennifer: The first thing to do is identify what her concerns are. It is natural for mothers-to-be to worry but what more when she is going into labour. Concerns can range from the duration of the labour to pain management (managing the contractions) to safety for herself and baby.
Having those concerns addressed realistically by talking to a trained healthcare provider, find out what options are available, what to expect and how or what she can do before going into labour will reassure her and give her confidence. Confidence empowers and that will in turn give rise to more positive thoughts. It is, however, important that her concerns are addressed to realistically in line with these changing times.
1Twenty80: Many women would have attended birth classes with their partners. However, now that they’ve to experience labour alone, is it possible for a woman to still implement what she has learnt?
Jennifer: Definitely. It is good to have a partner with her in labour but in these changing and challenging times, it may not be always possible for various reasons. So, the course can be modified to put more emphasis on empowering the woman. She can also always discuss her birth wishes with her healthcare provider and work out how the team can assist her throughout her labour.
1Twenty80: How important is it to have a strong and positive mind? Also, if a woman in labour starts to get stressed up, how can she shift her thoughts to focus on the positive side of birth?
Jennifer: Fear always increases stress. The important thing is to realise what her biggest concerns about labour are. She need to then address these concerns prior to labour. For example, if her main concern is managing the contractions and she is unsure if she wants pain relief, she should first have a discussion with her spouse and then with her doctor. She can discuss with her doctor and plan out how she will approach her pain management. This way, her doctor and the nursing team will be aware of her preference and will be able to assist her.
1Twenty80: During this time, how can the husband continue to play an active role while his wife/partner is in labour?
Jennifer: Reassurance from her spouse and having realistic expectations are very helpful. Husbands can also assist by being calm and patient. They can discuss the possibility of the husband being there virtually, at least in the early stages of labour.
1Twenty80: How can the nurses and hospital staff play a positive role to support women during this time?
Jennifer: The teamwork and trust between the woman and the healthcare providers are important. The different healthcare providers have different roles and effective communication is the key for support. It will be helpful to have a short meeting with the staff prior to labour to get to know each other better.
1Twenty80: What is your advice to mothers-to-be during this period of time?
Jennifer: Communicate your concerns and wishes to them. Have a birth wish list to remind yourself and the team. Also, stay calm.