Mum-to-be's 'panic' buying confession

BRINGING a life into the world comes with new rules as Tweed mothers-to-be face giving birth during a pandemic.

Soon-to-be first-time mother Tara Fisher might have more information about coronavirus than most but it doesn't make the prospect any less daunting.

The occupational therapist is well-versed in how to keep safe from the virus leading up to the birth of her firstborn on May 16.

However she said it was impossible to control community transmission and would be taking precautions to ensure her family was safe from the virus.

Ms Fisher said it was upsetting to know visitors were restricted at John Flynn Hospital - where she planned to give birth - but the risk was not worth it.

"We were expecting family members to visit us in the hospital to meet bubs for the first time for that support but you can't, it's just too risky," she said.

"Before (Covid-19) you were worried about people having vaccinations but with Covid, you don't know how much people have been self-isolating.

"Until we're sure about community transmission - and that's reducing - I'll be keeping it (visitors) to immediate family.

"My obstetrician's advice was for family to isolate leading up to and past the due date to be safe."

STILL SMILING: Soon-to-be first-time mother Tara Fisher feels some of the exciting elements of being pregnant and expecting her first baby has been taken away due to the coronavirus pandemic.
STILL SMILING: Soon-to-be first-time mother Tara Fisher feels some of the exciting elements of being pregnant and expecting her first baby has been taken away due to the coronavirus pandemic. Supplied

Coronavirus also affected Ms Fisher and husband Andy's ability to prepare for their first baby.

The 32-year-old expected to shop for the baby before he was born but most NSW stores closed due to coronavirus restrictions.

"It's stressful because you think you have all this time to buy things for the baby and then everything is closing," she said.

"I feel like lots of things I bought online was a last-minute panic because I felt the world was closing in around me," she quipped.

"We're still lucky to have a baby and bring him home to a safe environment."

Second-time mother

Hospital procedures while giving birth does not concern Yazmin Monk.

The Banora Point mother has to come to terms with only having her husband, Jason, by her side in hospital.

But the thought of not being able to see her two-year-old daughter, Yara, until she was home was most upsetting.

"It will be hard not being home with Yara and missing out on the warm and fuzzy moment of her meeting her sister at the hospital," Ms Monk said.

 

Mother-to-be Yazmin Monk encourages all pregnant women to relish in the downtime forced upon them due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Scott Powick
Mother-to-be Yazmin Monk encourages all pregnant women to relish in the downtime forced upon them due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Scott Powick

 

Ms Monk is also having her baby at John Flynn Hospital and said a recent visit calmed her nerves about giving birth during the pandemic.

"The hospital was quiet, the midwives were calm and ­relaxed and as a pregnant woman walking in, it was quite reassuring how they are handling it," she said.

"They are prepared.

"Throughout your pregnancy, you have a general idea on how you'd like it (the birth) to happen. Your mind is open to what could happen or what could go wrong but you don't think there's going to be a world pandemic.

 

Mother-to-be Yazmin Monk encourages all pregnant women to relish in the downtime forced upon them due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Scott Powick
Mother-to-be Yazmin Monk encourages all pregnant women to relish in the downtime forced upon them due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Scott Powick

 

"If this wasn't happening, I'd still be working until the moment I give birth, if anything it's actually forcing me to slow down.

"I'd love to remind mums to slow down and really relish in the down times. Take time to do things for you, whether it's a cup of tea or tinkering in a nursery … and knowing you're allowed to feel the emotional rollercoaster."

Feeling anxious

John Flynn Private Hospital Maternity Service nurse unit manager Gaylene Hardwick reassured all expectant mothers they would be provided with high-quality, safe and personalised care.

Ms Hardwick said it was understandable if mothers-to-be felt anxious or stressed about giving birth during the pandemic.

She said staff were working to make sure all patients felt supported and safe before, during and after their stay.

"We very much encourage partners or the mother's nominated support person to be in the delivery suites to support our mothers during this very special time," she said.

"Evidence suggests pregnant women are at no greater risk of being adversely affected by Covid-19 than if they weren't pregnant.

"The precautions for pregnant women are very much the same as for the whole community.

"We are adhering to Queensland's Public Health directive to limit the number of hospital visitors, to protect patients and healthcare workers.

"Visitors will be screened by staff before entering the hospital, including temperature checking, and will not be able to visit if they are unwell with any cold or flu-like symptoms."

Ms Hardwick said the hospital was creating alternative ways of providing antenatal and post-natal care, such as virtual antenatal classes and an online education program called Know my Midwife.

The Tweed Hospital is also restricting the number of visitors to the site, including the maternity ward, and encouraged expectant mothers to practice social distancing.

A NSW Health spokeswoman said pregnant women should avoid small gatherings in enclosed spaces and not to shake hands and hug and kiss people.

"Pregnant women suspected of having Covid-19 are asked to notify the maternity service prior to arrival to allow staff to put infection control and care planning measures in place," she said.

 

John Flynn Hospital

  • Patients may each have a maximum of one visitor per day.
  • Hospitals will be restricting children under the age of 16 years from visiting the facility
  • Maternity wards cannot be used as thoroughfares and only essential staff can enter
  • Any visitors will be re-screened before entering the maternity unit
  • Volunteers and other non-essential visitors will not be visiting our site until further notice

The Tweed Hospital

  • The current restrictions in Maternity/Women's Care Units and Birthing Suites remain at one support person per birth, with no other visitors while in hospital

Top tips

  • Avoid close contact with a person confirmed with COVID-19 or anyone who is unwell
  • Avoid touching objects or surfaces (such as door handles or tables) and then touching the mouth or face
  • Avoid sharing food
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water before and after eating, or after going to the toilet
  • Avoid shaking hands
  • Practise social distancing and stay at home wherever possible

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