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Hospital reassures expectant mothers over birthing partner rules

PUBLISHED: 18:02 21 April 2020 | UPDATED: 18:02 21 April 2020

West Suffolk Hospital has stated that they will allow birthing partners, including fathers-to-be from different households, on to the maternity wards to support mothers-to-be giving birth. Picture: GREGG BROWN

West Suffolk Hospital has stated that they will allow birthing partners, including fathers-to-be from different households, on to the maternity wards to support mothers-to-be giving birth. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A hospital has spoken out to reassure mums-to-be that their birth partners can still be by their side despite coronavirus fears.

West Suffolk Hospital say it is in an expectant mother's best interests to have a birthing partner by her side Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVES/GETTY IMAGES/iSTOCKPHOTOWest Suffolk Hospital say it is in an expectant mother's best interests to have a birthing partner by her side Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVES/GETTY IMAGES/iSTOCKPHOTO

There had been confusion over the rules in place at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds and it was feared that mums may have to deliver without their chosen birthing partner.

A “distraught” patient, who is due in a fortnight, was left fearing she would have to face childbirth on her own despite the government previously advising that it wasn’t a safety risk for the father or a family member to support the mother during labour unless they were showing signs of having contracted coronavirus.

The hospital have denied this is the case and assured the public that this situation is a case of “miscommunication” between staff and patient and insisted that mothers-to-be would be allowed to have another person by their side.

The government currently states that women “should be encouraged to have a birth partner present during labour and birth as having a trusted birth partner present throughout labour is known to make a significant difference to the safety and well-being of women in childbirth”.

Whilst restrictions are in place when it comes to routine antenatal pregnancy appointments the website confirms that “this should not impact on your birth partner’s presence during your labour and the birth, unless they are unwell”.

Karen Newbury, head of midwifery at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We’re doing everything we can to ensure pregnant mothers and their families remain well-looked after and supported in what is an ever-changing environment. We know for some pregnant mothers, decisions we’ve had to make to ensure the safety of them, their loved ones and our staff has meant their pregnancy journey has changed from the one they had planned, and that this can be difficult.

“To reassure our pregnant mothers - you can absolutely bring a partner with you when you give birth, whether you’re having a natural birth or caesarean section. In all but extreme circumstances they will be able to stay with you throughout the birth, and we’ll do our utmost to make sure this happens.

“We have also changed our approach so that your chosen partner now doesn’t have to live in the same household as you.

“There’s lots of information available on our website, and on our new Facebook page set up specially for expectant and new mums. On there we’ll be sharing everything from online educational videos on active birthing to antenatal classes. “By offering live classes over the internet, we hope mums-to-be and their family won’t miss out on interactions that we know are really important to them.”

For regular updates on the coronavirus, press here.

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