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
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.”