When Partners Are Optional Extras


From top: At the Coombe, partners may attend the 20-22-week scan but for all other routine scans, a pregnant woman must attend alone; Social Democrat TD Holly Cairns

This morning.

Further to Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan’s assertion yesterday that there was “no good reason in public terms” that mothers should endure their births alone….

…Maternity hospitals and units are beginning to ease restrictions, including the Coombe and the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street – but some hospitals  are doing this more slowly.

Social Democrat TD Holly Cairns said:

“It is incomprehensible that women are still being denied the support of a partner as they attend scans and, in many cases, even during birth.

“This morning we heard that the numbers of covid patients in hospitals around the country had fallen to just 104. Meanwhile, there are just two hospitals with ten or more patients who have the virus.

Despite this, women are still being told that their partners are some kind of optional extra when it comes to attending at hospitals for scans and labour.

“It is increasingly looking like pregnant women are just expected, by some within hospital management teams, to endure stressful appointments, like anomaly scans, alone.

“Even going through labour alone is not deemed too high a price for women to pay – despite there being no public health rationale for the infliction of that trauma.

“The HSE has been stating for weeks that visitor restrictions at maternity hospitals should be lifted. The CMO has now publicly stated there is no public health grounds for their continued existence.

“Despite this, hospitals continue to deny women the support of their partners throughout their pregnancy and during birth.”

Ms Cairns added:

It’s hard to avoid characterising this apparent determination to make women needlessly suffer as anything other than misogynistic and cruel. Having a baby should be a joyful experience and instead it is being turned into something distressing and stressful by these intransigent rules.

“In December, the HSE reclassified birthing partners as an “essential accompanying person” for the 20 week-scan. They now need to urgently reclassify them as an essential accompanying person for the entire maternity journey.”

Yesterday: ‘It was like being released from prison’ – mother tells of heartache of being without her husband after giving birth (Independent.ie)



Protests at maternity hospitals over restrictions (RTÉ)

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10 thoughts on “When Partners Are Optional Extras

  1. Janet, dreams of an alternate universe

    I saw a pregnant woman sobbing her heart out crumpled up on the floor in a corridor, brokenly telling obviously bad news to someone on the phone…..just unnecessary, trauma stays with people.

    1. spud

      That is awful :(
      We had a ‘covid baby’ and I dreaded getting a phone call after each scan.
      Thank goodness she’s a fine healthy baby.

      Ronan makes some good points below. The lack of visitors (not the father / partner) is a welcome relief for the staff and actually the mother too.

  2. Ronan

    My missus gave birth last summer when shops were open and I still only saw the birth before being kicked out a couple of hours later.

    She spent 4 days post section and perversely people were allowed short visits in the main hospital whilst I was sending supplies up to the maternity hospital via the Porter.

    Our consultant told us it was the nursing decision makers who were pushing hardest against letting Fathers in.

    I came to the conclusion that the care (and indeed support) staff were finding their otherwise understaffed environment a safer and nicer place to work without entire families taking the piss around visiting hours and dragging in giant teddies and balloons.

    Still though, fathers only and subject to controls wouldn’t kill them.

    As for the scans our consultant allowed them on FaceTime after i was kicked out, but that was in private rooms.

    All in all, despite how hard it was for my wife, on balance I think they did ok by us and everyone else by keeping CUMH Covid free.

    Given the complications they’ve noted otherwise with still births I think it would be wise to continue limiting access to scans.

    I missed some moments, sure, but I also got to work from home and see the results daily throughout my wife’s maternity leave!

    1. Janet, dreams of an alternate universe

      the nurses are finding it easier without a string of visitors, but we are talking about one

    2. Orla

      I wonder how your wife feels about the restrictions. four days post section by herself minding a new baby while recovering from surgery.

  3. Dr.Fart

    Cairns really see’s herself as a powerful defender of the overlooked. But she’s only been vocal on issues that she’s directly experienced herself.. namely stuff to do with pregnancy. The noble fighting for TDs to get maternity leave, even tho they work one day a week and have money coming out their ears. And now this, which will solve itself shortly anyway. But if it didn’t, “inpassioned” speeches in the Dail doesn’t have much effect anyway.

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