#AskTheMidwife Q&A with Louise Broadbridge - 7th April

by Louise Broadbridge

On Tuesday, I went LIVE on Instagram with Your Baby Club to answer all of your burning questions around conception, pregnancy and babies on their new weekly Live series #AskTheMidwife with me, Louise aka The Honest Midwife. So everyone can benefit from the answers, we've compiled all of the questions and answers from the live session for you. If you have a question that's not covered here, feel free to message me directly on my Instagram or visit my website - Let's Talk Birth and Baby.

I’ve got mild symptoms of coronavirus. baby moving well, will the baby be affected by the virus?

As it stands, the knowledge we have is saying that we don’t think its crossing over to the placenta or crossing over to the babies,, this is a new virus, and we are limited to what we know. Ay baby born to a mother with symptoms will be very closely monitored and checked over.

Are women and their partners told to isolate for 2 weeks after giving birth? If so, how does this affect other children – I have a 9-year-old and am 37w pregnant. I'm concerned about keeping my other child protected after being in the hospital.

You can only do the best you’ve got. The guidance is, even for those families that are split families, it is recommended that the other parents are seeing their children. Yes, go home and self-isolate the same as the gen population is doing. It's not that your partners aren’t allowed to go to the shops, but you need to go home and not have visitors or grandparents. But it is expected that you will be going home and living with your existing children

How long before trying for a baby should I go to see the doctor? trying for my 2nd child for over a year now.

Under normal circumstances, if you’ve been trying for a year, go and see your doctor. You will struggle however at the moment to get an appointment for that. By the time this is over, and you haven’t managed to see a doctor its more than reasonable that you go.

Polyp whilst 20 weeks pregnant, it’s causing spotting for me, but it’s outside the cervix? Is this safe to be removed?

That’s something your doctors will guide you on. If it’s causing problems then they may recommend it, but the majority of the time we usually leave them. It’s an area that you would need to take guidance on from them.

When will my baby move? I’m 20 weeks and feeling flutters?

Flutters are good! People who are having their second and subsequent babies often do tend to feel their baby move a bit sooner, but we would hope that you would be starting to feel some definite movements by 22/23 weeks, but some people are a little bit later than that. You should start to feel those lovely kicks very soon!

Can my birthing partner join me when I’m giving birth?

The guidelines at the moment from the RCOG, hospitals should endeavour to allowed birth partners to be present during labour. Outside of that time, people are likely to find restrictions. If someone is being induced, it is likely that you will be going through that part of the induction alone until you reach established labour. Once the baby is born and you’ve had a few hours with your baby and the partner goes home. It’s unlikely they’ll be allowed to go to and from the hospital until you’re ready to go home.

My first baby and antenatal class has been cancelled. How do I bath my baby for the first few weeks?

Unfortunately, many people are having their antenatal classes are being cancelled at the moment due to current circumstances. When you want to bath your baby just make sure the environment is warm, you don’t need to bath them straight away, unless your baby is really gunky, which some babies are when they’re born. The temperature should be okay on the tip of your elbow and then just sponge them down. I’m actually holding some Live stream antenatal classes that you can sign up for. The first one is absolutely free and will talk you through labour and birth and then a minimal cost for the rest of them including talking about practical parenting. you can find the link to them here.

Is it risky to be going to scans at the moment? I’m worried about entering the hospital environment

My advice for that would be for scans that are recommended, so scans that are routine scans, so your 20-week scans, 13 weeks, any scans for placental sighting, definitely, they are important scans and you should still go. Going for scans like gender reveal and scans that you have booked privately that aren’t necessarily recommended, I would probably give those a miss, but those that are deemed essential, the hospital will continue to allow you to have them.

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I have gestational diabetes, I’m 36+4 today, what are the risks now from coronavirus? Should I wait to go into labour naturally or should I be induced?

If your midwife and doctors are measuring you and they think that induction is the best process, then absolutely, I would continue with that. What you don’t want is to wait too long and for your baby to have grown to a bigger size. So if there is a concern about the size then I definitely would continue and follow their advice.

Can Grandparents come to the house to see the baby when they’re born?

Unfortunately, not. The advice is that we aren’t going around to people’s houses and sadly that applies to when new-born babies are born as well, which is heart-breaking, but that’s the guidance. They can come and have a look through the window but can’t have cuddles at the moment. It is for everybody’s safety, both your parent’s and your baby’s, so you’re going to have to wait I’m afraid!

Best way to combat anaemia during pregnancy?

If you have had a blood test taken and it comes back and you are low on Iron, you will be prescribed iron. You can also get it from red meat but you do need to make sure its thoroughly cooked, but generally, the way that we boost it is through iron tablets. There is a lady who's on Instagram called @ThePregnancyFoodCompany and she does some great recipes and things on boosting things like iron, so you may want to have a little look on her Instagram account, it’s really good.

Is it more likely to have another stillbirth following a previous stillbirth?

Without knowing the circumstances behind the existing one, it’s very difficult for me to say, but if it was just a still-birth that was unexplained, I think the chances are that if the likelihood is increased, it’s only very, very slightly, but I think for most people, it’s just been really, really bad luck. Without knowing your sad circumstances, I cannot answer for definite. Most people do go on to have happy healthy pregnancies.

I’m hoping to breastfeed but would like my husband to be involved too. What breast pump would you recommend?

My honest opinion is that they’re all much of a muchness, in terms of a price point of view, so the ones that all sit around the same price are all as effective as the other. I do know that the new Tommee Tippee one is really quiet, and I the reason I know that is because I do some work for them on their stands at The Baby Show. I have the job of actually demonstrating the breast pump so I know that it is mega, mega quiet, so that’s a good one if the noise impacts you at all. I know that the Elvie one has some good ratings as well, but it’s a very long time since I’ve used a breast pump, so in my personal opinion I can’t really give you my recommendation but those are the two that I know of. It’s been a real thank you from women for the fact that the Tommee Tippee one is so quiet.

When is the rough time you’ll feel your baby when your placenta is at the front?

That will vary from person to person, but a placenta that is positioned at the front of the tummy can be a bit like a sound barrier, so feelings can be a bit muffled and not quite as definite but we would still hope that by the 22/23 week mark, you are starting to feel those flutters.

Assisted deliveries – can the plunger or tongs method cause damage to the baby?

It can cause a little bit of bruising. Below is a picture. This baby was born by the plunger method as you’ve said, which is a Ventouse. As you can see it’s got a little bruise on its head. But I was at that delivery of that baby and they were born at about 6am and by 7pm that evening when I went back and popped to say hello, it had pretty much gone. They get a bit of superficial bruising sometimes, but not more than that.

Will I still be able to have an epidural due to staff shortages?

The units are not running understaffed at the moment, but aside from the Coronavirus, we do get occasions where someone does want an epidural and the anaesthetist who needs to deliver that is in theatre and by the time they come out of theatre, the lady has had her baby. On the whole, we’re not anticipating loads of women having to go without epidurals that want them. I would try not to worry, we are quite good at calling in another anaesthetist if we need them.

My Consultant has recommended a planned c-section for me in mid-May, could there be a possibility that this could be cancelled on the day, given the current situation?

With planned or elected caesarean sections, there is always a possibility that it may be cancelled on the day for various reasons. C-sections are done on a priority basis, so it could be that we have 3 or 4 ladies on the list, and then somebody comes in, and let's say the baby has been compromised or needs to be born sooner, and that may mean that yours is moved to the day after. It’s not going to be cancelled indefinitely and its more likely to be as a capacity thing rather than a Coronavirus issue, so I would try not to worry at the moment. Obviously, things vary from Hospital to Hospital but I’m not hearing stories of maternity units being overrun with COVID patients. I think the biggest concern is where we are losing staff, where they’re self-isolating, but they are really working hard and people are doing extra shifts, so I think as it stands at the moment, Maternity Units are managing really well.

Could you cover briefly perineal massage and risk of infection in current times? How much real benefit it can make if no oil is used (starting last month of pregnancy)

Perineal massage has been shown to reduce the significance of tearing during birth however, it will not remove the risk totally. 9 out of 10 women having their first baby will experience some injury but massage starting between 34-36 weeks could help reduce how bad they are. I wouldn’t recommend doing the massage without oil as this could make you really sore, but you really don’t need to use expensive oils. Almond oil or even a light olive oil would be absolutely fine.

Can you still monitor the baby while having a water birth?

It is always recommended that your baby is monitored in some way during labour and Mum being in the water doesn’t change this. For those experiencing a low-risk pregnancy, it is recommended that your baby’s heart rate is heard every 15 minutes, and this would be done using a handheld device called a doplar. Some hospital units do have what is called telemetry which can allow your baby to be continuously monitored when in the water, but you would need to check with your unit to find out if this is available.

I had a forceps delivery. Will I be able to request a c-section If I have another baby?

If you are worried about having a vaginal delivery again after a difficult first experience chat to your midwife and or consultant to discuss your feelings. It may be they are able to put your mind at rest as having had one forceps delivery doesn’t always (and often doesn’t') result in subsequent babies being born the same way.

Can my mum be present (solo, not got a partner) at all appointments due to mental health and 2 previous ectopic losses

As it stands at the moment all women are allowed their birth partners present as long as they are not symptomatic of COVID-19. However, as we know this is a quickly changing landscape so I can’t promise things won't change but at the moment there is no ready why you cannot have your mum as your birth partner. You may, however, find that there are restrictions on appointments as the aim is to reduce the risk of transmission to both you and your baby, your mum and the health professionals.

What exercises can you do to prepare for labour?

Yoga and pregnancy Pilates are both great forms of exercise. Usually, I would recommend swimming but that is not possible at the moment. Gentle walks are also a great way to keep fit.

If you'd prefer to watch the Q&A, you can find it below. Don't forget to give it a like and join us next week for our next LIVE Q&A #AskTheMidwife.

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Written by

Louise Broadbridge

Blogger & Senior Midwife
My name is Louise, I am a Registered, Senior Midwife and a wife and Mum to my two children, Jack 16 and Isobelle 12. I have two fur canine babies too which also keep me busy! I am striving for much more honesty surrounding the transition from young, free and single to pregnant, early parenthood and beyond. Becoming a parent is one of lifespan's gifts but also one of life's biggest challenges. I set up @thehonestmidwife to offer honest and evidence-based information, support and advice minus all the fluff! I am a strong advocate for both breast and formula feeding and feel it important that whatever method is chosen by parents that it is well supported. Finally, I love Dads! Not in a weird way but I think they have a tough time and should be supported better!

Articles on YourBabyClub.co.uk are a mixture of informative pieces, anecdotal accounts and professional advice from our panel of Bloggers, Writers and Experts. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official view of Your Baby Club UK

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