Monday, April 19

Plead to ease Covid maternity rules as women continue to get bad news alone Pregnancy

Most of the women who have received bad news about their pregnancy since December were alone at the time, even though the NHS ordered trusts to allow partners to be present during scans, labor and delivery, it may reveal. The Guardian.

An alliance of pregnancy rights activists has written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, urging him to draw up a roadmap to ease visitation restrictions in maternity services.

The letter from the But Not Maternity Alliance, which includes Pregnant Then Screwed, Birthrights, and The Fatherhood Institute, states that while progress has been made since NHS England issued guidance in mid-December, “there is still a major postal code lottery between trusts in England ”.

Updated figures showing the status of UK maternity restrictions on 154 NHS boards and trusts reveal that partner access to maternity services has improved since data was last collected in October.

Data shows that 38% of maternity services in the UK allow couples to attend non-standard scans when there are concerns about the baby, and a quarter of services allow couples to attend prenatal appointments.

The letter says there is “great variation as to whether couples can visit their partner and baby in the postpartum room.”

He says: “We have heard throughout the pandemic of the enormous toll these restrictions have placed on families expecting a baby. But the continuing uncertainty is doing even more damage. We cannot go back to a situation where people can go to the shops, the pub and the hairdresser, to attend a wedding or a funeral, but not go through maternity care together. “

In December, the NHS mandated that hospital trusts allow pregnant women to have their partners present during scans, labor and delivery, after growing outrage that women were forced to go through the labor of labor alone or hear devastating news about miscarriages without the support of your partners.

In Scotland, there are plans to allow members to attend all elements appointments for pregnancy, labor and birth under government direction.

The number of trusts and boards that allow partners to attend any part of an induction has increased from 5% in October 2020 to 56% in February 2021, while partner attendance at 12-week scans has increased from 51% to 76%.

But a recent Pregnant Then Screwed survey of 7,556 women who are pregnant or have given birth since the December guidance found that 77% of the 530 people who had received bad news had done so on their own.

When asked if partners were allowed to visit in postpartum rooms, 23% of respondents said no, 77% said a few times, while no respondents said their partner was allowed to visit without restrictions .

Dr Edward Morris, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said that the “intense pressure” from the second wave of coronavirus meant that in many cases the guidelines issued by the NHS in December were not followed.

“We are very sympathetic to women who have received unexpected news about their pregnancy alone and without the support of their partner,” she said. “The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic will still be felt for some time, so we would encourage trusts to use innovative approaches to ensure that couples can be included in all stages of the motherhood journey, as this is essential for health and well-being. of pregnant women and their families ”.

One of the people who responded to the survey said they told her that her husband would only be allowed to enter the hospital during active labor and one hour after delivery. “I feel like the physical and mental health of new moms is being largely neglected,” she said. “Surely this situation could be handled much better with Covid testing, asking partners to isolate themselves and other measures.”

Joeli Brearley, founder of Pregnant Then Screwed, said it wasn’t right that as the UK opened up, women continued to get bad news for themselves. “Birth partners are advocates and a critical component of the pregnancy and delivery process and should be treated as such,” she said. “So we are asking, to cry out loud, that they not allow socializing in pubs without a plan to prevent women from giving birth alone.”

Scott Mair of Paternal Mental Health said the lack of access was taking a heavy toll on parents, as well as their partners. “I talk to dads every day who feel disconnected from their pregnancy and powerless to support their partners as much as they need it,” she said.

‘My faith in the NHS is shrinking’

Joel Hagan, a CEO of the company, was not allowed to attend a growth scan at 32 weeks with his wife, Lilian. The scan had been ordered because the baby was found to be in the 95th percentile in size. “They didn’t tell me I couldn’t attend. The letter did not state that and no one said that until we were at the door, ”he said.

“I was surprised because I had read that there were many concerns about the ability of couples to participate and, more importantly, support them during the motherhood process and I knew that the government had issued guidance.” But when he asked to speak to medical staff over the loudspeaker, they told him that he would not be allowed into the room.

He told staff that Lilian’s first language was Spanish and that her understanding of English would likely be hampered by the stress of the situation, but that the staff would not change their minds, he said.

Lilian felt alone, unable to ask in English what was happening and fearing the worst. She had no one to support her, which is obviously a harrowing experience, ”she said. “I was angry that I could not be present at the scan, because I felt that support was necessary. As the guide is clear and accurate, and there does not seem to be a strong desire to follow it, my faith in the NHS as a whole is diminished. “

Lilian will now undergo a premature cesarean section and the couple are considering changing hospitals due to visiting hours. “It is clear that the NHS guidance, which is very clear and robust, is not being fully or consistently implemented,” he said.

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