A NEW mum who gave birth at Russells Hall Hospital at the height of the coronavirus pandemic has spoken out about her experience to reassure other expectant mothers.

Claire Flavell gave birth to daughter Cassie during lockdown and has shared her experience to allay the fears new mums may have about giving birth in hospital with COVID-19 safety restrictions in place.

Only one birthing partner is allowed and visiting is restricted at the maternity ward, but Claire said her experience was no less special than when she gave birth the first time at the Dudley hospital.

Claire said: "I had obviously been anxious beforehand but as soon as I went in to hospital to be induced I forgot all about it. I didn’t feel unsafe at all thanks to all the infection prevention measures being taken. The midwife was wearing a mask but that didn’t really matter.

“I didn’t feel my experience was any less than with my previous daughters. The care was excellent. As soon as my waters broke my husband came in so he was with me for the labour and birth and was able to staying for the visiting hour.

"The only difference was I couldn’t have other visitors but I understand that totally."

Claire lives in Penn but chose to have her baby at Russells Hall Hospital after a positive experience there giving birth to her first daughter.

She added: "I was in for 48 hours and everyone made me feel at ease – I was really impressed by everything I saw and experienced. The staff were brilliant and so friendly.

“Throughout the whole thing everyone made me feel at ease. My experience of having Cassie was just as joyful as having my other children.

“I would tell other women to try not to worry because it’s business as usual and they will not be in jeopardy.”

While restrictions continue, the maternity team have restarted home birth services and are aiming to launch virtual antenatal classes.

Amanda Clayton, midwifery matron at Russells Hall Hospital, said: "I am delighted Claire had such a happy time with us. We have all been working very hard to ensure mums are safe while able to have as normal an experience as possible.

"At the moment we are still only able to allow one birthing partner and very limited visiting, but we will of course review that as soon as it is safe to do so.

“We have been able to restart our homebirth and birth reflection services, and are looking at setting up virtual antenatal and grandparent classes.”