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1.       I’m wanting a homebirth, and I’ve been told I can’t have one as the service has been suspended. Do you think it will be running again soon?

Our plan is to introduce a case loading (on-call) team of midwives on January 18th in line with the continuity of carer model detailed in the Better Births document. This team will caseload women from a specific GP practice in Harrogate and those who request a home birth. This will provide a designated team of midwives to support women requesting home births supported by the remaining community midwives.

2.       Why are Harrogate’s homebirths not happening but Leeds are able to? 

Leeds have a designated home birth team, they have a much larger workforce than Harrogate. Due to a number of staffing reasons that include medical isolation due to Covid -19 the home birth service in Harrogate remains suspended, we have been unable to safely provide this service since August.

3.       I’ve been told they want to induce me, but I don’t think the reason is right. My baby is supposedly big; I have been told there is a risk of my baby getting stuck. Shoulder dystocia. 

If a woman is unhappy about a plan involving their care or unsure about a decision that has been suggested, our advice would be to speak to their named midwife in the first instance to gain more information and advice. If they remain dissatisfied, we can arrange for a further discussion with a senior midwife.

4.       But if I’m induced, I’m worried I’ll end up needing an epidural and I’ve read that an epidural is more of a risk than my so-called “big baby”. Am I over thinking this? I just don’t want to end up with forceps or suction cup.  

When a woman is induced this does not necessarily mean she will require an epidural for pain relief. All forms of pain relief will be available to you; our advice would be to wait to see how you cope with the induction process and being in labour and to be guided by the midwife who is looking after you.

5.       I’m scared I’m going to end up on my own. I don’t want to birth alone, but I’m hearing stories about women having their partner there for the birth, but not afterwards, and how hard it is alone. 

Throughout the pandemic, we have always encouraged one birth partner to be present during labour and delivery. This birth partner can remain on delivery suite until transfer to Pannal ward. Once on Pannal ward, the same birth partner can visit, allocated slots are available during the day. During the induction process, your birth partner can stay for as long as you need them there.

6.       I really want to rest, breastfeed and feel well for going home, but worried about being alone on the postnatal ward. 

See the answer above. Our advice would be to let the staff on the postnatal ward know how you feel about being on your own; they will provide support and advice to you as required by you for feeding and recovery.

7.       Can I say no to induction? 

You can decline induction of labour; as long as you have been given the reasons why induction is indicated in order that you can make an informed decision. We would not induce someone who does not want to be induced.

8.       Can I use the birthing pool during lockdown? 

The pool has been available for pain relief as normal throughout the pandemic as long as you are Covid negative.

9.       I’ve been told they’ll need to induce me because my BMI makes me high risk. Is this right? 

A raised BMI means that you will be on a higher risk care pathway due to the potential problems that may occur as a consequence of the raised BMI. A raised BMI without any other medical or obstetric concerns does not mean that induction of labour will be recommended.

10.   What happens if I or my husband test positive just before I go into labour? 

If your birth partner tests positive for Covid they will not be able to attend the hospital with you, this is to protect all staff providing care to you and all other women on the department. In these unusual circumstances, our advice is to nominate another person to be your birth partner. If a pregnant woman tests positive for Covid they need to self-isolate at home until labour commences, inform the delivery suite that you have had a positive test prior to coming into the hospital.

11.   How soon can I go home after birth? 

If everything is normal with you and your baby, you can go home within a few hours after delivery (normally 3-6 hours).

12.   I don’t want to be on a ward with so many people, or be away from my partner. It all feels so wrong. 

We understand that everyone is living in very unusual times and all local decisions made are based on national recommendations and guidance. Many women are choosing to go home early after delivery and we would support this if you and your baby are clinically well to do so. The community midwifery teams will pick up your care once you have been discharged home from the hospital.

13.   Who do I contact if I need some advice?

Your named community midwife may not always be on duty and therefore will not always be available.

  • If you have urgent concerns please contact the Maternity assessment centre (MAC – Monday to Friday 08.00-20.00) or delivery suite out of these hours
  • If women want a reply within a day for non-urgent concerns, e.g. rebooking an appointment, please contact the community midwifery office as this phone is checked every day
  • Routine enquiries can go to your named midwife, please be aware they may not respond for up to 5-7 days or more if on AL.