After many conversations with pregnant women over the last few days I decided to watch the ‘Stacey Dooley and the Lockdown Babies’ program which was originally shown on Monday. I really have to question, why this was even allowed to happen .
Here are some of my observations of the program as an antenatal teacher and doula having supported many women in pregnancy and new motherhood throughout the pandemic and quite frankly I am bewildered.
Let’s start with the positives though:
- The staff of the NHS at the time of filming (June) were doing and are still doing a really tough job under unprecedented circumstances. It is clear from what I saw they are giving their all.
- The dedication of the midwives and particularly those from the BAME community who know they are at a higher risk yet are showing up everyday.
- The impact that COVID-19 has had on the pregnant women and their families, what it has meant for their pregnancy, what they have missed out on and changed birth plans and as Stacey said ‘COVID-19 has changed what should be a joyful experience into a deeply stressful one’
But WHY oh WHY please do tell me, because I would really like to know. How is it okay to have a presenter and a film crew allowed access to:
- Antenatal appointments which partners are still not allowed to attend in some trusts
- Red zones in a hospital which would by my understanding have no visitors
- Visit a COVID-19 positive mother and baby who probably hasn’t had visitors from her own family
- An unplanned Caesarean birth with a film crew
Please tell me why Stacey was given access ‘all areas’, when currently women are only ‘allowed’ one birth partner with them when they are in active labour. So if you are being induced or not in active labour then your source of support, comfort, continuity of care isn’t present. So no additional birth companion/birth partner such as a mum/sister etc. The WHO guidance tells us how it important it is to have a companion of choice throughout labour whether or not they have COVID-19. Also a father whose wife had given birth to twins was only ‘allowed’ a couple of hours with his wife and new babies yet it was okay for Stacey to visit with a film crew with new mum and who had COVID-19.
So again please clarify for me why it is okay to restrict visiting, restrict birth partners from appointments, scans and from parts of the labour and birth of their child but it is okay to allow a presenter and a TV crew access?
Right at the end of the program the Head of Midwifery said “The fact that you haven’t got people coming to the hospital unnecessarily. It’s all about minimising the risk of infection. That should be the norm for us from now on”
I guess that Stacey Dooley and her TV crew weren’t considered unnecessary then?