We were so thrilled to learn of Princess Eugenie's pregnancy on Thursday morning – a new royal baby to coo over arriving in early 2021, hurray!
While there is undoubtedly much excitement in the royal household right now, we can imagine that Eugenie, like all mums-to-be, is feeling a mixture of both joy and nerves as she experiences her first pregnancy. It's especially tough for her given that we're living through a global pandemic.
In some ways, the Princess' pregnancy will be different from royals of past years due to new hospital guidelines, but in other ways, namely the care received, things are unchanged and just as safe as ever.
HELLO! spoke to Senior NHS Midwife Marie Louise, author of The Modern Midwife, to find out what Eugenie may experience when expecting during the COVID-19 outbreak.
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What is the advice for pregnant women during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Marie Louise told us: "Pregnant women are being advised to attend their ante-natal appointments as planned."
"I know that previously some women were quite concerned about potentially going into clinic, but actually, it's far more important that they attend those appointments for the safety of their baby, than it is not attending because they're concerned about catching coronavirus.
"It's important that they go to those clinical areas so they can be fully assessed. The safety measures are all very much in place - the staff are making sure they follow all the recommended guidance and are wearing the PPE."
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Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank
In what way might Princess Eugenie's pregnancy be different?
"The biggest thing that can be a concern is partners and the lack of support from family members [due to hospital rules], but I must stress that midwives and doctors are trained professionals – we look after and care for women day in day out.
"Although we're in PPE and things might be slightly changed because of the policies and the appointments we're offering, the skillset remains unchanged.
"I know it's a really anxious time for women and perhaps Eugenie is feeling it, but as a confidence boost, those skillsets are there and readily available. Maternity services are an essential service. Midwives have been pulled in from other areas to make sure our service is strong."
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If Princess Eugenie has a private midwife, will she have her ante-natal appointments at home or at a clinic?
"Private midwives will tend to come to your home, however, there are clinics that private midwives do run, especially if they work alongside obstetricians.
"However, because of COVID-19, it may well be that the assigned midwife or obstetrician does offer a home service."
The Portland Hospital where Sarah Ferguson gave birth
Will Princess Eugenie have to wear much PPE herself?
"At this moment in time, women are being recommended to wear masks at ante-natal appointments to protect the healthcare provider as well as herself."
Will Princess Eugenie's husband Jack Brooksbank be allowed to her pregnancy scans?
"The advice that is given varies depending on your local area. Some hospitals are very strict still, saying no partners are allowed in at scans at all. Other hospitals are allowing partners in for scans.
"Unfortunately there isn't a national guideline for this. There's no one way that hospitals are behaving when it comes to the rules, regulations and protocol. I've just had a baby myself and I had a private scan. My partner was allowed at both my private scans with PPE.
"When it comes to private services, you're more likely for your partner to be allowed in. But if they've got symptoms of coronavirus, have confirmed coronavirus or they have been in contact with anyone with coronavirus, they will not be allowed."
We're so excited for the new royal baby!
Is Princess Eugenie likely to go for a home or hospital birth during the pandemic?
"It really depends – each woman is assessed on her current health and well-being and her previous health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
"If everything is all completely normal, then there's no reason why she won't be able to have a home birth, unless there is any kind of concern about the potential need to transfer into hospital. For example, if there's concern that ambulance services wouldn't be able to get to her in enough time.
"In the height of the pandemic during lockdown, some hospitals weren't recommending home births because they weren't able to provide an emergency service that was quick enough. As things have returned to normal those things have been provided."
Princess Eugenie is expecting a baby in early 2021
What are the current rules with partners being there in labour?
"At the moment, the rules are that all women do have a birth partner once they are in established labour. Established labour means that a woman is 4cms dilated and having regular contractions.
"In the early stage of labour, some women do not have their partner with them, if they've been induced for example. If they stay at home for the early part of labour, they will be with their partner the whole time.
"If Eugenie opts for a home birth, then her partner will be able to be with her the whole time because the midwives will come out to her. A home birth for women considered to be low-risk is actually really safe and is as safe as going into hospital."
Are other visitors allowed at the hospital when the baby arrives?
"Other visitors aren't recommended. I'm not aware of any units across the UK that are allowing other visitors other than birth partners."
Follow Marie Louise on Instagram here