The happy baby news we all shared from Number 10 recently has brought a lot of much needed national cheer. And shows just how great our NHS is when it comes to handling a crisis on a scale like the pandemic.

But one side effect of all the social distancing and eagerness of the public not to overburden the hospitals, is that along with a reduction in the number of people presenting to casualty, is that expectant mothers are also too anxious to attend maternity triage, worried that they may get coronavirus, or place too big a strain on the NHS at this time. One consequence of the pandemic that could potentially present problems is women staying at home worried about their baby's movements, yet too scared to come to the hospital.

As a Kicks Count ambassador, I really want to encourage and persuade women to call their midwife or maternity unit if they are worried about their baby's movements.

One thing I have learnt in my job as an obstetrician and gynaecologist, is the power of a woman's instinct and if your intuition is telling you that you need to go to hospital, whether it be because of a reduction in movements or due to other symptoms, such as bleeding or tummy pain, please, please make that call and if you are told to come in, we will absolutely make sure we protect you and your baby by ensuring all COVID reducing measures are followed. This one move may just possibly save yours and your baby's life. We can't yet tell if the pandemic has led to an increase in the number of stillbirths but my plea is to all expectant mothers, to not fear coming into hospital if you need to. Maternity units are still open and want to look after you and your baby.

Our antenatal and postnatal services are also running and it's really important, especially if you are someone who is a higher risk pregnancy, whether it be due to your age or underlying health conditions or previous obstetric history, that you attend where necessary and receive the care that you need. This will never be compromised, only the delivery of it may change to virtual appointments, in some cases.

Please remember you and your baby are our top priority and it's vital we keep you both safe đź’ś

Dr Larisa Corda