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03rd Dec 2020

Pressure on maternity hospitals to allow partners at scans, labour and postnatal visits

A very important issue.

This last year has been difficult for everyone but in particular expectant and new parents.

Ahead of a national ‘virtual rally’ organised by campaigning organisation Uplift, a petition signed by 52,205 people will be delivered to Cork University Maternity Hospital calling for partners to be allowed attend antenatal appointments and scans for the full duration of labour and after birth on the postnatal ward.

The petition was started by physiotherapist Caroline Cumming, who is currently pregnant with her third child. She said: “The restrictions prohibiting fathers and partners from accompanying women to antenatal appointments and scans, despite the fact that she could potentially receive distressing, life changing news alone is extremely cruel.”

The research, to be launched at the virtual rally, will detail 709 peoples’ experiences and their responses to HSE guidelines issued to maternity hospitals.

The findings show that the exclusion of partners is the single biggest concern for pregnant women and people.

Trauma, anxiety and distress were described in great detail by the hundreds of people sharing their experiences.

One woman, who wishes not to be named, spoke of her traumatic experience:

“I received news during an emergency room apt that I had miscarried. It was late on a Saturday night and there was only 1 other patient in a huge waiting room.

“I was there for nearly 8 hours while my partner sat outside in the car. They never let him come in to hear the news, support me or be involved in the loss that was also his. Then I had to tell him that we had lost our baby. It was a harrowing experience and inhumane treatment.”

Speakers at the upcoming rally will include Leader of Sinn Fein, Mary Lou McDonald, Leader of Labour Party Alan Kelly, Holly Cairns, TD Social Democrats, Eileen Flynn, Senator, Orla O’Connor, NWCI, Linda Kelly, new parent, Siobhan O’Donoghue, Uplift Director and Caroline Cumming, physiotherapist and pregnant with third child.