There is nothing more joyful than the birth of a child. The excitement and build-up to the big day is filled with excitement, from sharing the news with family and friends, to preparing for the arrival of the new member of your family.
The last 8 months have been very difficult for expectant parents, lockdown has somehow robbed them of the things we love most about being pregnant. Being at home instead of out in the world sharing the joy with others. But what if you find yourself with a premature birth in the middle of a pandemic?
Premature labour happens before the 37th week of pregnancy. About 8 out of 100 babies will be born prematurely. In fact, it’s estimated that around 35,000 babies have been born prematurely in England and Wales, between March and October this year. COVID-19 restrictions have meant that in some cases, parents have had their time limited in some neonatal units to as little as 2 hours a day, a time when precious bonding with their babies is more important than ever.
In some cases, pre-term labour is planned and induced because it’s safer for the baby to be born sooner rather than later.
This could be because of a health condition in the mother (such as pre-eclampsia) or in the baby. A midwife and doctor will discuss with the benefits and risks of continuing with the pregnancy versus a baby being born premature.
You can still make a birth plan and discuss your wishes with your birth partner, midwife and doctor. There are also organisations like BLISS who champion parents right to receive the best care by supporting families They also campaign for change, support professionals, and enable life-changing research.
Bliss is working with Pampers to help families on the neonatal unit to feel supported and connected to their baby even when they can’t be there in person
They recognise how important it is for parents to feel supported and connected to their premature or sick baby. But also know there are many reasons why parents might not be able to be on the unit as much as they’d like.
A survey, carried out by PAMPERS supported by BLISS, of parents who have had a baby born premature or sick during these restrictions has found that two thirds have been left feeling isolated, while 79 per cent say their mental health has suffered as a result
Our team spoke to TV Personality, Author and mother of premature twins, Tana Ramsey (Gordon’s wife), along with Ben Moore, founder of vCreate, and Caroline Lee-Davey Chief Executive of Bliss.
On World Prematurity Day (November 17th) a new animation was launched to help families on the neonatal unit make the most of their time with their baby. Take a listen to our interview to find out more……..
The animation, which parents will be able to view on neonatal units via the vCreate platform, will help families feel confident getting involved in their babies’ care and help parents to understand how they might be feeling, what questions to ask and where they can find more support.
Over the coming weeks, Bliss will be asking families on its social media channels to nominate a neonatal unit to receive tablets and Wi-Fi dongles, funded by Pampers, to help parents stay connected to their baby – and access information including our new animation – when they can’t be there in person.
The animation is part of a series of initiatives being funded by Pampers to help families feel connected at this especially challenging time, when we know many families are facing restricted access to the neonatal unit.
Caroline Lee-Davey said…….
“COVID-19 has meant neonatal units are facing new and unprecedented challenges in caring for premature and sick babies; with strict infection control measures in place limiting family involvement, it is feared that UK parents have missed out on thousands of hours of precious contact time with their baby. This early development time is key for premature and sick babies and so it has never been more important for us – with Pampers’ backing – to support families in the care of their tiny baby.”
Pampers also launched a new television ad on World Prematurity Day, during the Great British Bake Off on Channel 4. That was the launch of the #PampersforPreemies campaign to provide their smallest premature baby nappies free of charge to units across the UK. These specially designed nappies help parents to feel confident getting involved in their baby’s changes – which is just one way of helping their baby to know their love, their touch and their care.
You can also see how vCreate is working within our hospitals and the support it gives to parents NHS