Ben Hayward December 16th

Pregnant women will be allowed to have their partner present 'at all times during their maternity journey', according to revised coronavirus guidelines from the NHS.

Partners will be allowed to attend maternity appointments, labour and after birth appointments with new guidelines drawn up by health chiefs making it possible for new mums to have someone with them as long as their birthing partner isn't showing symptoms of the coronavirus.

Published on Monday (December 14th) in a publication titled: 'Supporting pregnant women using maternity services during the coronavirus pandemic: Actions for NHS providers’, the guidelines state:

“Pregnant women value the support from a partner, relative, friend or other person through pregnancy and childbirth as it facilitates emotional wellbeing and is a key component of safe and personalised maternity care.

"It is therefore our aim, further to a risk assessment, that a woman should have access to support from a person of her choosing at all stages of her maternity journey and that all trusts should facilitate this as quickly as possible.

"At the same time it is our priority to prevent and control COVID-19 infection and keep women and staff safe. Many trusts have already found creative solutions to overcome remaining challenges and they have maximised the support that pregnant women can receive throughout their pregnancy. It is important now that all trusts do this.”

The document goes on to day that support partners should be regarded as ‘an integral part of both the woman and baby's care throughout’ rather than as ‘a visitor’.

This means that women will be able to take their support person to: the early pregnancy unit, all antenatal scans, other antenatal appointments where the woman considers it important to have support, labour and birth from the point of attendance at the hospital or midwifery unit.

NHS Trusts will now be required to conduct risk assessments for expectant mothers and pregnant women and their birth partner should be tested for the virus before they attend 12 and 20 week scans - and any other maternity-related appointments.

Birthrights, an organisation that is dedicated to ensuring women receive the respect and dignity they deserve in pregnancy and childbirth welcomed of the proposed changes. 

In a statement, it said: "We applaud the dedication of maternity professionals across the UK who are working tirelessly to deliver the best possible care in a fast-moving situation.

"Despite the challenges the NHS now faces we all remain united in the belief that every woman needs safe, respectful and compassionate care during pregnancy and birth."

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