During the Covid-19 pandemic, maternity services underwent a rapid transformation in an attempt to deal with transmission of the virus and pressure on services. With anxiety running high (and exacerbated by the media) and with many unknowns about the virus and the risks to pregnant women and their babies, restrictions and hastily implemented policies often overrode years of work to improve maternity care. This talk examines best practice for caring for families and contrasts this with the experiences many had, highlighting how hard-won gains can be lost at the drop of a hat in a crisis. How can we now help families, and those who care for them, start to process and heal from their experiences?
Community and hospital health care professionals (HCP’s) were reporting fatigue, distress and concerns for the wellbeing of their patients and themselves prior to the COVID-9 pandemic. The implications of COVID-19 on how health care is delivered and experienced by HCP’s and patients has been extremely challenging. Our quantitative and qualitative research has demonstrated that HCP’s have experienced unprecedented levels of fear, moral distress, burnout and fatigue. With the psychosocial and health complexities of patients increasing each year, HCP’s are going to have to demonstrate resilience and adaptability in the future. While many academic papers report on the risks to HCP wellbeing, few provide tangible solutions and strategies. This talk will explore risk and protective factors for the future with a specific focus on those who provide care to infants and their families.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way breastfeeding support is offered, both in hospital and in the community. Existing research from countries around the world show that the COVID-19 pandemic has had both negative and positive effects on breastfeeding experiences. This presentation will explore the results of a qualitative study, including first time mothers who breastfed during the pandemic in both the UK and Canada. This presentation will also incorporate emerging research about providing care to breastfeeding mothers during the pandemic and beyond, and the impact of COVID-19 on breastfeeding rates.
This presentation will define the concept of the 4th trimester and describe birthing parent perspectives of safe, respectful perinatal health care in the context of COVID-19. The session will focus on patient accounts and filmed observations of breastfeeding-related experiences on a US postnatal unit. Opportunities for advancing health equity will be outlined, including improving preparations for the postpartum period, strengthening patient-care team inpatient communication, and restructuring care to be more accommodating and uplifting for new family needs.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns and other restrictions contributed to many changes in policies and management in public places and government entities, including the healthcare system. These circumstances and constraints have the potential to disrupt maternity and infant care and affect maternal support systems, which consequently could impair maternal mental health and well-being. This is especially critical for mothers in the postpartum period and their newborns, who are more vulnerable and critical. In this presentation, Nurul reports research findings on maternal life experiences, infant feeding practises and support during the pandemic. This includes some experimental studies on relaxation therapy for mothers to better cope during the lactation period and the outcomes of infant feeding and growth.
During this lecture, all the ins and outs of breastfeeding during the COVID-19 pandemic will be discussed. The importance of continuation of breastfeeding during this pandemic will be emphasized. Moreover, the effects of covid-19 vaccines in lactating women will be elucidated.
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Liz Crowe is an experienced social worker who has spent her career in paediatric intensive care specialising in crisis, trauma and end-of-life care with children and families. In the last two years her focus has shifted to the wellbeing of health care professionals and has submitted a PhD thesis investigating the risk and protective factors for the wellbeing of health care professionals. Liz is a passionate and humorous educator who regularly speaks internationally and is an active podcaster. Liz is the successful author of The little book of loss and grief you can read while you cry.
Prof. Amy Brown directs the research centre ‘LIFT”: Lactation, Infant Feeding and Translation at Swansea University in the UK. She has spent the last sixteen years exploring psychological, cultural and societal barriers to breastfeeding, alongside experiences of perinatal mental health and caring for babies. She is particularly interested in how we can shift our perception of breastfeeding and infant care from an individual mothering issue, to a wider public health problem. Professor Brown has published over 100 research papers and is author of 9 books including her most recent ‘Covid babies – how pandemic health measures undermined pregnancy, birth and early parenting’.
Dr. Kristin Tully is a Research Assistant Professor in the Dept of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of North Carolina with expertise on engaging perinatal patients, family members, and clinicians to understand and address their unmet needs. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Notre Dame, doctorate in Biological Anthropology at Durham University, England, and postdoctoral fellowship in Developmental Science at the University of North Carolina and Duke University. At UNC, she is a member of the 4th Trimester Project and currently serves as a Principal Investigator/Co-Investigator.
Sarah Turner is a Vanier Scholar and PhD Candidate in the Dept of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. She has a BSc in Human Ecology and her MSc in Community Health Sciences. Her research focuses on how breastmilk and breastfeeding contribute to child cognitive development and behaviour. She is interested in how both the nutritional qualities of breastmilk and the social-emotional benefits of breastfeeding, such as the mother-child relationship, contribute to infant neurodevelopment. During the pandemic, Sarah began a new research project focusing on how COVID-19-related precautions influenced mother’s breastfeeding experiences.
Nurul Husna Mohd Shukri
Nurul Husna Shukri is a senior lecturer in the Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia. She obtained her PhD at University College London, where she conducted a trial looking at the mother-infant relationship through physiological and psychological signalling during breastfeeding using relaxation therapy. Her current research interests are in the influence of maternal psychology on breastfeeding outcomes, including human milk composition, and their relation to infant growth and behaviour. Nurul also serves as a nutritionist and lactation counsellor based in Malaysia.
Britt Van Keulen
Britt Joan van Keulen started medical school in 2011 at the University of Amsterdam and completed her bachelor degree with honors (cum laude) in 2014. During her internships, she became particularly interested in pediatrics, and therefore, did her final clinical internship and her research internship within this field. After graduating in 2017, she had the opportunity to start as a PhD candidate in pediatric endocrinology at the VU University Medical Center. Her thesis focused on variability in cortisol production and metabolism. During this period, she worked at the Dutch National Human Milk Bank and together with director Hans van Goudoever she set up the COVID-MILK studies which focus on the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in human milk and on several aspects which could influence these antibodies.