'I felt very safe giving birth in hospital'

Joanna Szymanska-Rusta and baby Liam with maternity staff
Joanna Szymanska-Rusta and baby Liam with maternity staff

Published on 11 April 2020

A new mother has thanked the midwives who cared for her when she gave birth during the coronavirus outbreak.

Joanna Szymanska-Rusta delivered baby Liam on Tuesday, 7 April, at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.

Although expectant mums are allowed to be accompanied by one birthing partner at East Kent Hospitals, Joanna’s husband stayed home to look after their other two children so she gave birth with just the support of midwifery staff.

But she said it was an overwhelmingly positive experience.

She said: “I had been worried before I came to hospital, because of the dangers of the coronavirus.

“One of my other children has asthma and as I was pregnant we were self-isolating at home for three weeks.

“It felt scary to leave the safety of our home to go to hospital but as soon as I arrived I felt very safe.”

Staff on the maternity unit wear personal protective equipment, including surgical masks, when they are with patients in line with national guidelines.

But this did not hamper the care they were able to give Joanna.

She said: “I was very well looked after by Sarah and Lindsey, who were a great support.

“I was able to focus on what I was doing without being disturbed and they were fantastic.

“The fact that they were wearing appropriate clothing and masks reassured me and I wanted to say thank you, and to let other women know that they shouldn’t be scared and they will be looked after really well.”

Ursula Marsh, Head of Midwifery at East Kent Hospitals, said: “Our teams are dedicated to providing the best possible care for mums and babies, whatever else is happening.

“I’m delighted to hear Joanna had such a positive experience and I hope it will reassure other expectant mums.

“We know people are worried, and we completely understand that, but our staff will do everything they can to support women and to keep them and their babies safe.”