Revised coronavirus guidelines will allow pregnant women to have their partner present during scans, labour and birth.
An expectant mother will be able to have one person beside her “at all stages of her maternity journey” as long as the support partner does not have COVID-19 symptoms, according to new NHS guidance.
Individual health trusts previously drew up their own rules which have forced many women to give birth alone during the pandemic.
The new guidelines state: “Pregnant women value the support from a partner, relative, friend or other person through pregnancy and childbirth as it facilitates emotional wellbeing and is a key component of safe and personalised maternity care.”
All trusts have been asked to review their policies and facilitate this as quickly as possible.
Health bosses will be required to undertake risk assessments in their maternity services to see if there is an “elevated risk of COVID-19 transmission if support people are present”.
Changes to the configuration of space will be made where necessary, “alongside provision of other appropriate infection prevention and control measures, including training and PPE (personal protective equipment)”.
“Many trusts have already found creative solutions to overcome remaining challenges and they have maximised the support that pregnant women can receive throughout their pregnancy,” the guidance said.
“It is important now that all trusts do this.”
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said it was “unable” to endorse the new guidance.
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