Changes to Birth Companions’ services in response to COVID-19
At Birth Companions we are proud of the speed and creativity with which we have adapted our services to continue to provide emotional, informational and practical support to pregnant women and new mothers through new channels during the COVID-19 crisis. Throughout this period staff and trustees at Birth Companions have continually and closely monitored our services to ensure we are doing everything we can to provide the safest, most appropriate care based on women’s individual situations.
As lockdown restrictions are gradually eased, and services across the health, social care and criminal justice sectors begin to resume face-to-face contact at varying pace, we will continue to assess the best ways to support women and their babies on an individual basis. The decisions we take will be based on careful consideration of women’s needs alongside the safety, wellbeing and capacity of our staff and volunteers, and in consultation with the professionals and agencies we work alongside. We will provide regular updates on adjustments to our services in prisons and in the community, over the coming weeks and months.
The impact of COVID-19 on women facing multiple disadvantage
We know that people who already experience multiple disadvantages will face significant challenges in the months ahead. Those who are already socially isolated, who rely on food banks and free school meals to help feed themselves and their families, who rely on public transport and who are in precarious housing and employment situations, do not have any buffers to help them weather this storm. For the women we support, these issues come alongside the anxiety and isolation many women from all walks of life experience during pregnancy, birth and the early stages of motherhood. So our work and our support is as important now as it has ever been, albeit in an adapted form.
As well as maintaining communication and offering personalised support throughout this period, we will also be making sure that the voices and needs of women facing multiple disadvantage continue to be heard and considered during these busy and uncertain times.
We will update this page on a regular basis, you can also follow us on social media for updates (links below).
Latest information and guidance relating to COVID-19 can be found at the following sites
Public Health England - General advice and guidelines
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists - Advice and guidelines for pregnant women
NHS England - General advice and guidelines
World Health Organisation - General advice and guidelines during the COVID-19 outbreak
Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative - Infant feeding advice
Royal College of Midwives - advice and guidance for pregnant women
Doctors of the World - NHS guidance in different languages
Coronavirus and Prisons - Guidance about visiting prisons
Maternity Action - Information on benefits for Parents and Babies
Prisoners Advice Service - free legal advice and support to prisoners in England and Wales regarding their rights