Member of Parliament for Delyn, Rob Roberts, has welcomed the national campaign, led my Alicia Kearns MP, calling on local Health Boards and NHS Trusts to ensure no women goes through pregnancy scans or labour without a partner or close family member present.
Rob has recently written to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, calling on them to follow the Government’s advice and change their policy so that pregnant women are permitted to have a birth partner with them for all scans and for all stages of labour.
At present, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s visitor policy restricts pregnant women and their families, with partners only allowed to attend during ‘active labour’ and having to leave soon after the baby is born. Moreover, for procedures such as an Induction of Labour or a Caesarean, pregnant women are expected to arrive to the hospital alone – leaving pregnant women scared and isolated.
While Rob welcomes their change in guidance to allow a visitor to attend antenatal scans, he feels this does not go far enough to ensure that pregnant women feel supported and comforted at a very vulnerable and worrying time.
Both the UK and Welsh Government have issued updated guidance that state women should have a supportive person with them for all scans and during every stage of labour – not just ‘active labour’.
Along with multiple pregnancy advocacy groups, this campaign has received support from both the Prime Minister and the Rt. Hon Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health, who has stated that partners should be present for “each stage of pregnancy” so that people “can get the support they need”.
Commenting on the campaign, Rob said:
“Across the country, women are having to go through what can be a challenging time in ordinary circumstances in solitude and isolation because of the pandemic.
“Whilst I completely appreciate the need to safeguard the staff and vital NHS workers in our hospitals, the risk factors of having the father present for these processes and procedures must be negligible as in the vast majority of cases the father or partner will be in the same household. Even where this isn’t the case and the father or partner is from a different household, there is evidence to suggest that elevated stress levels in the mother can have an adverse impact on the baby as well as causing mental health issues for the parent.
“I would like to think that the Health Board, which is doing its best in very challenging times, could be more sympathetic to the plight of mothers. Only being able to have someone there during “active labour” is disproportionate and unfair as it is perfectly possible for “active labour” not to commence for several dozen hours (sometimes even days) after labour begins. The mother shouldn’t have to go through that potentially difficult and scary time alone.”
Rob is keen to hear from local Delyn residents who have been experienced BCUHB’s maternity visitor policy and urges those who have had to attend scans, appointments or go through labour on their own to get in contact, via:
Rob will be able to raise these concerns and stories directly with BCUHB and hopefully, prevent any further women going through a potentially traumatic pregnancy scan or labour alone.