updates to maternity and family services in lockdown january 2021

Here at Baby Week we have been keeping abreast of the different services that are available during this time of uncertainty. As a new year began the messages of advice and safety guidance turned into another national lockdown, with some hopeful news for new vaccine on the horizon. Babies keep on arriving however, and the Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust at both sites LGI and St James’s University Hospital continue to be keeping busy.

Baby Week has gathered updates and resources on free to low cost services available from mainstream, third sector and grassroots organisations for women, families and professionals to access during lockdown.

The current national guidance on birthing and vaccines can be found here in the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' here.

Updated information on birthing at Leeds you can find here. Don’t forgot to look for the Browse aloud button to assist with additional languages and learning needs.

Available through Facebook; E-Midwife continues to give guidance on updates to the service including the virtual antenatal classes available to access here including healthy eating to helping to answer questions on showing signs of symptoms and what to look out for. Click here to join this interactive service.

The Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP) run through Women's Health Matters Facebook page helps to answer queries and receive feedback on women’s maternity experiences. Including posting infographics showing the number of babies born in Leeds in December 2020 and up to date information on services at the Trust and in the community.

This has continued to be a testing time for families, either the impact from Covid-19 has on services or if you have contracted the virus yourself. There are lots of peer support services aimed at helping mums dads and partners struggling with the strains to mental health at this time.

Mindwell website funded by the Clinical Commissiong Group have published some useful resources on Looking after your emotional health during pregnancy and Ways to feel well after the birth of your baby.

Forum Central have useful resources for professionals helping parents bond with their babies.

Charity HomeStart are looking for new volunteers to help support parents in Leeds.

The charity Your Space through Touchstone are currently offering online classes for pregnancy and new parents at a time when people aren’t able to meet up in groups; Wellbeing in Pregnancy and Wellbeing for New Parents has been a wonderful course to access at a time complete with a gift box on week 3! Contact Kim on 07341547493 for more details on new courses.

The Perinatal Mental Health Peer support Alliance is a group of individuals and organisations working together to help raise awareness and help improve peer supporters for perinatal mental health in Leeds. The charity who has helped start this group is Touchstone ‘The alliance is a source of support and a place for peer supporter to improve their skills and practice' The group is now moving forward to be being more peer led with the coordination of key members formed over the last year. More information on this here.

To find out more about the definitions of Perinatal Peer Support and its principles the Maternity Health Alliance has a designated a webpage to the specifics.

Nest Leeds Perinatal Peer support group write relevant blogs on people’s stories to help share experiences and coping strategies. They also have a link with joining the perinatal mental health peer support alliance if you’re thinking about joining or would like to send the link to somebody that does.

East Leeds grassroots: Nurture@Kentmere Group Chat are offering friendly words of support and advice through their Facebook group. There usual face to face group is not currently running due to the circumstances however, they are offering 1:1 support via phone at this time.

Leeds Dads continues to be a great peer support group for dads and families in Leeds – transferring their social interaction into fantastic events on Wednesday evening at 8pm recently discussing; 'challenging, difficult or sensitive topics without judgement'. Not only do post relevant and interesting articles on their twitter and facebook accounts but they have also been recognised by Royalty by taking part in an online discussion with the Duchess of Cambridge. In partnership with Coram Parent Champions Leeds Dads was invited in September 2020 as part of the discussion into how peer-to-peer support group have been a vital life line for dads and families in this pandemic.

Rose McCarthy from The Refugee Council continues to deliver the free antenatal class via Zoom. Open to Refugees and people seeking asylum for pregnancy birth and parenting, with access to interpreters available. Every Tuesday 12.45-2.30 pm contact Rose 07393011902.

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Also, for Ayslum Seeker and Refugees is the peer support meetings available through City of Sanctuary Maternity Stream Every Saturday via Zoom 1pm - 2pm and how are also offering a telephone befriender service during Corovirus outbreak. Support with Zoom is given contact 07532606410 or email

Women’s Counselling Therapy Service are getting creative with antenatal classes and are offering free classes focusing on playful attachment approaches to make women more confident in labour. Available to those who are 20 weeks pregnant or over.

WCTS are proud to be involved in the Perinatal Mental Health Pathway in Leeds which includes contributions from Leeds Best Start Plan 2015-2019 and the Maternity Strategy for Leeds 2015-2020

Leeds Baby Bank continues to support vulnerable families during the lockdown with delivering donations of much needed items for families. For referrals and more information on the charity please click here.

Fitness guru's and experienced midwife's Sharon and Shelly from Bumps and Babes are continuing to deliver help, information support and advice in place of their usual face to face classes. However, they are offering virtual services including Antenatal Education Groups, Hypnobirthing Courses, Baby Massage and Pregnancy and Post Natal Exercise.