A BABY photographer has set up a Facebook page to bring pregnant women and first-time parents together during lockdown.

Klara Valkounova, 24, from Bicester, wanted to create a 'safe and positive' space for expecting mothers and parents of newborns who need support while usual services are not running as they usually would.

She created a Facebook group called Lockdown Babies Oxfordshire - Support Group for Pregnant and new Parents which now has 95 members across the county.

Ms Valkounova, who owns The Second Star Photography, said: "When the lockdown came along I was feeling really sorry for my clients. Pregnancy can be difficult let alone adding a pandemic into the mix.

"They don't have the usual benefits from going to prenatal classes.

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"So I started thinking of what I can do to help them, not just them but everybody. I thought setting up the group would be a nice way to connect people who are in the same situation and help them to not feel like they are on their own."

Oxford Mail:

Mothers expecting a baby often have baby showers, gender reveals, antenatal classes, exercise clubs and other prenatal and postnatal activities to go to.

But with the coronavirus pandemic still gripping the country parents are missing out on these normalities.

Ms Valkounova's Facebook group provides a space for parents to get information and create friendships.

She added: "Parents can virtually meet, get access to support and resources, share their ups and downs with other parents in the same position, and I am delighted to say it has been growing and a positive distraction for the parents despite the current situation."

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Local midwives and businesses are also contributing to the group and the photographer is planning to run live sessions featuring them such as pregnancy fitness classes and a live midwife Q&A.

Lily Foggan, a midwife from Bicester, will be holding a 'From Bumps to Babies' prenatal class.

Other activities include a hypnobirthing class, a sleeping class and prenatal and postnatal exercise classes, all run by local teachers in Oxfordshire.

Ms Valkounova said: "It's not exactly what you would imagine having your first child, so I hope the classes will add some normality to their pregnancy journey.

"I think it's such a nice way to connect with other people even virtually. They can build on friendships which they're missing out on so this is a little thing we can do as a community.

"Hopefully their friendships will remain after this and once we are allowed, we can organise and see each other in person."

Oxford Mail:

Ms Valkounova has been specialising in newborn and maternity photography since 2017.

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She said: "I really cater to those once in a lifetime moments. So when lockdown began I was really sad not to be able to capture these moments especially the first weeks of a baby's life because they change so quickly.

"But health is of course more important, so there was definitely no chance of putting them at risk.

"I have been giving parents some photography and editing tips so that they can try at home and they have been supportive."