New mums left feeling 'anxious and isolated' by Covid-19 pandemic

Still taken from footage of interviewee Lucia House with baby Hudson
New mum Lucia House Credit: Lucia House/ITV

Anxious, overwhelmed and isolated - those are just some of the experiences of a mum from Cornwall who had a baby during the pandemic.

Lucia House from Par gave birth to her baby boy just before lockdown began in March.

Lucia told ITV News she had not seen a health visitor in person until her baby Hudson was eight weeks old.

Cornwall is one of the few areas in the country where frontline Health Visitors have continued with home visits when a baby is born, with staff using full PPE.

A Health Visitor makes a video call Credit: ITV

Cornwall Council says parents are still being offered new birth assessments in person, with priority for vulnerable families.

42% of parents have had a visit at home, with other families opting for phone or video calls. So far, it says 94% of families have had contact with a health visitor in the first two weeks of going home. 

The charity Home-Start UK has joined Best Beginnings and the Parent-Infant Foundation to reveal key findings from its Babies in Lockdown Report, a survey of over 5,000 parents.

Almost seven in 10 said their ability to cope with their pregnancy or baby has been impacted by Covid-19, with nearly nine in 10 parents saying they were more anxious as a result. 

The report also found families with lower incomes, young parents and those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities had been hit harder by the Covid-19pandemic.

Home-Start volunteers normally visit families in their homes to offer support. During the pandemic, its network of volunteers have been offering advice by phone and video, and sending activity packs though the post to help keep children occupied.

Home-Start activity for children Credit: Home-Start

The charity says it has help and advice on its website for families who are struggling with a range of issues - including financial hardship, emotional well-being and bereavement.

Cornwall Council has a constantly updated help page for families, including links to the maternity triage line, Health Visitor team and Breastfeeding support.

Devon County Council has links to local Children's Centres and services here.