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A midwife has said she has been “inundated” with private messages from pregnant women unable to get in-person support during the coronavirus pandemic.
Restrictions due to COVID-19 has led to the cancellation of some face-to-face maternity appointments, which has led to Marley Hall, 39, receiving social media requests from women who have questions about their pregnancies.
The NHS and private midwife said that one request came from a 12-year-old girl who thought she was pregnant and was unable to get support.
She estimates that she receives around 300 messages each week - a tenfold increase - since lockdown began.
Hall spends a significant amount of time replying to the queries, with women confiding in her that they simply don’t know where to turn for advice.
She’s calling for the government to reinstate full maternity services for pregnant women.
“I was and still am getting a ridiculous number of DMs every day from mums due to give birth in the pandemic,” she explains.
“People were asking me what to do, saying they'd rung the hospitals but nobody would answer the phone and they could only have virtual appointments with midwives.
“I'm getting hundreds of messages a week as there's so many pregnant women out there who need support right now that are turning to Instagram for help and advice.
“With the country in lockdown, I've had mums replying to thank me for my help and saying I'd given them more advice than their own midwives.
“I feel really bad for these women. Something needs to change.”
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During lockdown, Hall’s Instagram account has risen in followers from 20,000 to 65,000, with women asking questions about everything from reduced movements to blood loss during pregnancy.
A lot of the women have raised concerns about being unable to see their midwives in early pregnancy, while others have worries about giving birth alone, inductions and c-sections.
“I was answering people's questions in the beginning but it got to the point where it was taking over my day,” said Hall.
“I was sitting on my phone all day long trying to help people, but I've got five kids of my own and [am] on maternity leave so as much as I wanted to help, I couldn't keep up with it.
“I was in bed at 1am answering questions and my other half said you can't keep doing this so I put up a video on my highlights to say I can't respond to all these messages.
“I try and do as much as I can if people ask questions in the comments section relating to something I've posted but apart from that, I can't give one-to-one advice any more.
“I feel so bad for these mums. I do want to help but at the same time, I can't save the world and I can't do everything for everybody, as much as I'd love to.”