People

Published: July 30, 2020 | Updated: July 30, 2020

Having a baby during a worldwide pandemic does have positives say The Naked Midwives

Samantha Pantlin and Alex Williams of The Naked Midwives.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

Being pregnant and having a baby in the middle of a worldwide pandemic is probably not the route most would have chosen.

But it’s actually resulted in lots of positives according to two practising midwives in the NHS who also have their own business, The Naked Midwives.

Samantha Pantlin and Alex Williams say some are surprising and others give cause to reflect on how we seem to have lost our natural instincts when it comes to birth and nesting with a newborn.

Samantha, a Community Midwife, said: “Before Covid-19, if women had to stay in the hospital or birth centre after having a baby, their partners would often be with them most of the time.

“There would also be visits from mothers, mother-in-laws, grandparents and siblings, most of who will have some well-meaning advice and guidance.

“Now, however, the women are staying on the unit purely with other new mothers.

“They have the curtains around the beds open and they are all chatting and supporting each other. It is just lovely to see.

“I think we underestimate just how invaluable the support of other women is – particularly at this time.

“In addition, once the new mums and their babies go home, they have their own little family bubble – just the parents and baby and, maybe, siblings.

“This has been positive in so many ways.

“The new babies all get weighed on Day 5.

“In normal times, the majority of them will have lost weight since birth.

“Now, however, we are seeing time and again the babies being at their birth weight or heavier.

“This is purely down to the fact that mums are staying relaxed at home and just sleeping and feeding without interruption or external pressures.”

Alex, who co-founded The Naked Midwives with Samantha in 2017, added: “For first time parents we are seeing the birth partners really getting involved and quickly gaining confidence in handling baby and recognising their cry and what this may mean.

“We are always recommending when going home with a new baby, spending a week in bed in your pj’s and a week on the sofa with few interruptions or distractions.

“Thanks to Covid-19, this is exactly what is happening and women and their new babies are certainly gaining the benefit of this.”

Both Samantha, who is based at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, and Alex, who works for Southampton General Hospital, live in Christchurch.

They met at university while studying for their midwifery degree as mature students.

The Naked Midwives provides online antenatal, birth and postnatal education with Samantha and Alex passionate about women being empowered and informed when they are pregnant.

Every antenatal class is held by a practising midwife with a wealth of knowledge from home birth, pool births, birth centre deliveries right up to births in theatre and the more unusual, including deliveries in the footwell of a car and in an ambulance on a roundabout!

The classes are held over four evenings via Zoom.

The Naked Midwives provide ongoing support right up to ten days following the birth.

And the reason for the attention-grabbing name?

Samantha said: “We decided on The Naked Midwives as we will tell expectant couples everything – not just the pink fluffy stuff.

“When you have not had a baby before, there is no blueprint so we spend a lot of time working with birth partners on the early stages of labour, when you are still at home and how both of you can cope.

“We go through all types of birth, pain relief, dealing with a new born and everything in between!”