My life as a pregnant midwife

Now I'm in the third trimester I have to remind myself to be more cautious. This is frustrating as lockdown is easing at the time I need to be extra careful!

Phillipa, her husband and little boy

06/07/2020

I live in Leeds with my husband and my little boy who is nearly 2. I am currently 31 weeks pregnant with my second baby. I’m also a midwife. I used to work in the NHS but left in 2019 to focus on independent practice.

I struggled in the early weeks of this pregnancy with nausea and vomiting – a particularly memorable moment was running to my car after dropping my little one off at nursery so I could be sick in a plastic bag! But mostly, this pregnancy has been straightforward. The major difference is I don’t have as much time to think about it because I’m so busy looking after my toddler.

Going into lockdown

Once pregnant women were placed in a vulnerable group by the Chief Medical Officer, coupled with the fact that I have a heart condition, I made the difficult decision to step back from clinical work when I was around 19 weeks pregnant, after a client had gave birth. Luckily, I work in partnership with another independent midwife and she was able to continue to provide care for the clients on our caseload.

I am finding it difficult not to be working. Being a midwife is a big part of my identity and I have felt down sometimes because I feel like I’ve almost lost my purpose. However, I have to admit it is nice to not be on call, having been almost continuously on call for clients since October 2019.

Keeping busy

I’ve been spending lockdown looking after my toddler full time after his nursey closed in March. Honestly, I have found lockdown really challenging (as I am sure all of us have). My little one is very active and doesn’t like to sit still.

I have really struggled not seeing my friends and family, particularly my sister and nephew who I’m very close to. However, it has also made us reflect on our lifestyle and helped us realise that we don’t necessarily need to constantly be doing lots of fun-filled activities, soft play, day trips etc and that actually, just spending time together and living more simply is enough. It has also meant that both my husband and I have been able to spend lots of quality time with our toddler before the baby arrives, which we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.

“We chose to find out the sex of the baby and so I asked the sonographer to write it down and put it in an envelope so that my husband and I could find out together.”

My antenatal care

Mostly my antenatal care has been the same. I have an independent midwife so all of my antenatal appointments take place in my own home. Other than my midwife wearing PPE when she comes to see me, not much has changed. I had to attend my 20-week scan on my own which was disappointing for my husband and I was worried about being there on my own in case I was given bad news, which is always a possibility. Happily everything was fine. We chose to find out the sex of the baby and so I asked the sonographer to write down it down and put it in an envelope so that my husband and I could find out together. I have also had to have some phone appointments with obstetricians due to my heart condition rather than going to see them in the antenatal clinic. Luckily, everything has been fairly straightforward for me so far. It must be especially difficult for the women who have complications or where concerns crop up and they have to attend appointments without their partner or friend/family member to accompany them for support.

"I feel for the women pregnant with their first baby or who have had their baby during the height of lockdown. It’s such an exciting time and most women would be building a support network by going to classes, etc. There does seem to be a lot available online such as antenatal classes, baby massage, hypnobirthing, exercise and journaling sessions, which I hope will go some way to filling the void."

Being in my third trimester

Now I'm in the third trimester (where the risk is thought to be greater to pregnant women) I am having to remind myself to be more cautious. This is frustrating as lockdown is actually easing at the time I need to be extra careful! Generally, when out and about I have noticed lots of kind and sympathetic looks and people are very quick to move out of the way and observe social distancing when they see an obviously pregnant women approaching. This is great but also acts as a constant reminder of the risks. The one pregnancy-specific thing I am really missing is aquanatal classes. I absolutely loved doing these last time. I have been doing some hypnobirthing and pilates online though which has been great. I feel for the women pregnant with their first baby or who have had their baby during the height of lockdown. It’s such an exciting time and most women would be building a support network by going to classes, etc. There does seem to be a lot available online such as antenatal classes, baby massage, hypnobirthing, exercise and journaling sessions, which I hope will go some way to filling the void.

Planning the birth

I am planning a home birth. My independent midwife will be on call to come and provide care during the labour and birth. In terms of Covid, my plans haven’t changed. I was always planning a homebirth after I had my first baby at home, although I do know that there has been an increase in the number of women exploring homebirth as an option due to Covid. Being at home means I don’t have to worry about my partner not being able to be with me or having to leave as soon as the baby is born. Nor do I have the anxiety of being in hospital in the middle of a pandemic. Obviously things don’t always go to according to your birth plan and so needing to transfer into hospital is a little worry I have at the back of my mind but generally I feel really positive about the birth.

We're here to support you

Although we've had to temporarily close our support line as our midwives have moved to homeworking, our Tommy's midwives are still here to support you.We are working hard to provide the best support and information we can during a time of extra anxiety and worry for pregnant women and their families.

Watch out for updates and contact us on the following platforms:

If you have non-urgent questions, we have developed Tommy's Midwife, a skill for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa that answers many pregnancy queries, including some about COVID-19.

Read more about the Tommy's Midwife Alexa skill here

Read more pregnancy news

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