Poignant image of mum sharing first cuddle with her newborn from BEHIND a PPE screen shows reality of a Covid labour

THIS poignant image of a mum sharing a first cuddle with her newborn from behind a PPE screen shows the stark reality of a Covid labour.

Ali Harris, 34, welcomed son Indy in May this year, but the experience couldn't have been more different from her previous two labours.

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Husband Leigh, 33, managed to capture the extraordinary moment Indy was handed to his mum from behind a plastic sheet for his very first hug.

The couple, from Lincoln, had no idea they had snapped such an incredible image that would give the world a glimpse into labour in the Covid-19 era.

Ali, a photographer, said: “As soon as the virus started to get really big we knew Indy’s birth was going to be different.

We opted for the clear screen so that we could see the birth, but it still felt strange looking at him through it

“We have two other children so we were ready for our third, but everything changed pretty swiftly.

“We couldn’t go to appointments together which was really tough because we both rely on each other for support in anything that we do.

“I knew there would be PPE, including wearing a face mask, and we opted for the clear screen so that we could see the birth, but it still felt strange looking at him through it.


“But of course, I was glad it was there, and I was so happy to just see Indy because whether we have to wear PPE or not It was always going to be a special moment.

“With our last two children we filmed the birth but this time were told we couldn’t, so Leigh just snapped loads of pictures and that’s how we ended up with the image.

“It hit me as soon as the drapes went up around me, knowing all of the extra precautions were in play.

“We didn’t think anything of it initially, but on second glance we realised just how stark it was, and how much is represented the time we’re all currently living in.”

DEFINING LOCKDOWN

Leigh added: “I wasn’t paying any attention to the pictures I was taking – I just wanted to keep snapping away so that we could look back on such a special moment.”

The photo even claimed the attention of the Duchess of Cambridge and has since been selected as one of 100 images that define the UK lockdown.

Ali said: “We are so thrilled that we have an image of our first moment together and when you notice the PPE surrounding us you realise how poignant the image is.


“The whole pregnancy was a different experience, we had to get used to not going to all of the appointments together, you want to be sat their holding hands, but you couldn’t.

“I went to a scan on my own and I remember being in a waiting room and someone was coughing a lot and you just instantly become terrified.

"Pregnant women were classed as high risk so leaving the house was scary.

“Thinking back now we’re just over the moon that everything went OK, the doctors were amazing, and we can’t thank them enough for keeping us safe.”

Now, the couple are sharing their story to help other soon to be parents who may be about to go through the same thing.

What are the current guidelines for labour and birth during Covid-19

Pregnant women are advised to tell their midwife if they have symptoms of coronavirus.

It's really important to have a midwife with you when you give birth to keep you and your baby safe.

If you and your baby are well, you may be able to give birth at home, in a midwifery-led unit or in a birth centre.

However, if there have been any complications during pregnancy, you may be advised to give birth in a unit led by a doctor.

There may also be some changes to what usually happens where you plan to give birth, because of coronavirus.

If you have symptoms of coronavirus and go into labour, you'll be advised to give birth in a unit led by a doctor, so the team can look after you and your baby more closely.

You'll be cared for in an area within the maternity unit that's just for women with coronavirus.

You may see the midwives and maternity team wearing aprons, masks or eye protection. These things are to keep you, your baby and the staff caring for you safe, and to stop the spread of infection.

Having coronavirus should not have any impact on whether you have a vaginal or caesarean birth.

Your maternity team has been advised on how to keep you and your baby safe. They will make sure you get the best care and respect your birth choices as closely as possible.

You'll be able to have a birth partner during labour and the birth if they do not have symptoms of coronavirus. But there may be limits on how long they can stay after the birth.

If your birth partner has symptoms, they may not be able to come with you, so you might want to have a backup birth partner just in case.

  • For more information visit the NHS website or the full guidelines are available from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website

Leigh said: “You just have to adapt really quickly, every restriction is there for a reason and in our experience if you follow them you’ll be ok.

“The image is just the icing on the cake, we’re thrilled we have that moment on camera and seeing all the PPE is a real reminder of the world we’re currently in.”

Ali added: “We were worried Indy wouldn’t have a special birth with family doting on him and everyone meeting him, but now we realise he’ll have the best story to tell out of all three of them.”

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