Northern Ireland news

Let partners come to scans, urge pregnant women

Women's partners should be allowed to attend pregnancy scans during lockdown, campaigners have said

Pregnant women are urging Health Minister Robin Swann to allow partners back into scan appointments and early labour after they were excluded by stringent lockdown restrictions.

A survey of prospective mothers has found women have been dealing with anxiety, miscarriage and seriously ill infants without support due to changes to maternity services caused by Covid-19 precautions.

Maternity charity BirthWise is calling for updated guidelines after its survey found while women were "extremely positive" about the "warm, compassionate, high-quality care" received from maternity services, they were "unhappy that their partners are being excluded from scan appointments, early labour, and antenatal/postnatal visiting".

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A Department of Health spokesman said a review is underway and will be published soon.

A spokesman said they "would like to assure the public that restrictions will not be in place for any longer than is required."

Everyone who had a scan appointment after restrictions were introduced had to attend alone, with one being told she had miscarried.

Women without their partner in early labour described their experience as `lonely' and those without ward visits saying it "contributed to them feeling alone, unsupported, or anxious".

Appeal to health minister over maternity services restrictions

BirthWise found the Covid-19 restrictions were "understood and respected by women", but wants partners allowed to attend booking and anomaly scan appointments where there are concerns about the pregnancy or a previous loss.

It also wants partners allowed to be there for early labour and once daily visits to wards - more frequently in exceptional circumstances.

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Northern Ireland news