New rules allow pregnant women partner support ‘at all times’

New rules allow pregnant women partner support 'at all times'

New rules allow pregnant women partner support ‘at all times’

Pregnant women will be allowed a partner alongside them ‘at all times’ under new Covid NHS guidelines.

The chosen person should be regarded as “an integral part of both the woman and baby’s care” – not just a visitor, say the rules sent to all health trusts.

The new guidance says pregnant women “value the support from a partner, relative, friend or other person through pregnancy and childbirth, as it facilitates emotional wellbeing”.

Women should therefore have access to support “at all times during their maternity journey”.

This means expectant mums in England are now allowed to have one person with them during labour, birth and their immediate postnatal period, as long as their support partner is not showing any symptoms of coronavirus.

Previous restrictions forced some expectant mums to attend baby scans and midwife appointments alone.

The rules varied depending on where they lived.

Under the new restrictions published on Monday in a document called ‘Supporting pregnant women using maternity services during the coronavirus pandemic: Actions for NHS providers’ health trusts are requested to review their current rules.

Health chiefs are asked to undertake a risk assessment in each part of their maternity service to see where there could be an increased risk of transmitting coronavirus if a birthing partner is present and tackle any issues with “appropriate infection prevention and control measures” including training and PPE.

Pregnant mums and their support partner should also be tested for the virus before they attend 12 and 20 week scans and any maternity-related appointments.

But Royal College of Midwives chief executive Gill Walton told the BBC: “With more areas moving into tier-three restrictions, many will question the common sense of releasing this new guidance now.

“We support and trust local maternity and midwifery leaders to make decisions in the best interest of the women in their care.

“We trust them to work with health and safety representatives and to follow NHS England’s own risk assessment process, which enables maternity services to make decisions about visiting and access for partners and families that are based on current, local information.”

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