I wanted to put together some birthing tips for those of you who will be birthing during the corona virus pandemic.
I think it’s fair to say that if you are pregnant right now, you have never experienced anything like what the world is going through right now.
That must seem so scary and overwhelming. Now is the time to go within, switch off the news and try to stay as relaxed as possible. I hope my birthing tips help in some small way.
Corona Virus Birthing Tip #1
My number one piece of advice would be to birth at home. This is a great option for low-risk women and babies and home birth was already seen as a very safe option before this virus and now that is further emphasised.
If you are wanting a home birth with medical care which is what most women want, a private midwife will need to be hired. Unfortunately here is Australia, there is often a $3000-5000 out of pocket expense to doing this so with little notice, many couples may feel this isn’t achievable. I would encourage you to investigate and ask about payment plans.
The benefits of birthing at home mean that you can be more flexible with your support team, instead of being limited to one or none support people which is happening in most hospitals now. There is talk of not allowing the use of gas/air as pain relief along with banning water births. Many hospitals are discharging women 6 hours post birth which can be distressing to leave so quickly but at home, you can hop straight into your own bed. In many hospitals partners are now being asked to leave two hours after the birth and only able to visit for two hours per day if you don’t get discharged soon after the birth. This is not ideal when meeting and learning all about your newborn and bonding as a family.
Corona Virus Birthing Tip #2
Aim for a physiological birth. If you are birthing in hospital, I cannot emphasise aiming for a physiological birth enough. When you have a physiological birth you can labour at home for the majority of your labour, go to the hospital just for the birth, then home soon after as you won’t have experienced complications.
There are so many ways to do this;
- Avoid induction!!! Inductions are an epidemic in themselves and incredibly over-used. They are the start of the cascade of interventions which means one thing leads to another often ending in forceps or vacuum birth (with an episiotomy) or a caesarean. It also means much longer in hospital, often days, with that bringing a larger chance of being exposed to covid-19.
- Intermittent monitoring – continuous monitoring via a CTG machine comes with an increased chance of an instrumental delivery or cesarean birth. Again this would mean a longer stay in hospital with little partner support.
- Avoid an epidural – epidurals mean you can’t birth in an upright position, you require continuous monitoring for fetal distress and the birthing hormones are affected meaning pushing isn’t a natural process but forced. I know I sound like a broken record but again, all things that can lead to further interventions and a longer hospital stay. Epidurals also mean coming in to close contact with the anaesthesiologist.
Corona Virus Birthing Tip #3
We know that two things that encourage a physiological and positive birth are – the right support team and birth education. Now that hospitals have cancelled hospital classes and limited support people, it’s more important than ever to get educated.
Myself, along with most other childbirth educators have moved our classes online which is a fantastic opportunity for so many people who hadn’t considered it initially, relied on the hospital classes or found classes in person inconvenient.
Many of us have also created very flexible payment plans to support couples at this time of financial instability.
Corona Virus Birthing Tip #4
Hire a doula. It might sound counterintuitive to hire someone that can’t attend your birth but your doula can provide much needed continuity of care for the last weeks of your pregnancy, can support you at home before you go to the hospital and many will be happy to provide text or phone support to your support person while you’re at the hospital.
Utilising a doula brings a huge range of benefits which include decreasing your chance of cesarean birth, increasing your chance of a spontaneous vaginal birth, decreased likelihood of using pain relief, shorter labour and more chance of a positive birth!
Corona Virus Birthing Tip #5
Breastfeed your baby. There is no indication that the corona virus can be transmitted via breastmilk and breastfeeding is a natural way to pass on antibodies to our babies. When you breastfeed your baby, you give them the strongest, healthiest start to life. I encourage you to learn as much as you can about breastfeeding BEFORE you have your baby. This course is an awesome option and you can use the discount code BOOBS20 for $20 off.
I’m wishing you all the best for a positive, satisfying birth and please reach out to me, or a birth professional near you for support at this time.