Allow birthing partners to be allowed in hospital during whole duration

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Countless expectant mothers have been left feeling alone, anxious and afraid about the circumstances they will give birth in due to having to go through pregnancy and birth during this pandemic. As someone who is expecting their first baby in August, I can sincerely say the pandemic has greatly affected my first pregnancy and experiences. There are a lot of things that pregnant women now have been worried about and have been missing out on. Many other women and I feel very strongly about the current birthing partner regulations currently used in hospitals.

The purpose of this petition is that we would like for it to be possible for the woman’s chosen birthing partner to be able to stay during all stages of labour, birth and post natal care. The current rules in most hospitals state that a birthing partner can only be there during established labour, which means being more than 4cm dilated. The current rules also only allow for the birthing partner to be allowed to stay for a few hours after the birth. This means if you or your baby have complications during birth, you must stay in hospital with no support from a loved one, feeling alone and worried. Personally I am greatly affected by this situation, and it causes many other women and I great stress and anxiety to think about how labour will be for us knowing there is a chance we will have to go to hospital alone in the first and vital stages when we need support. Stressful labour is dangerous for a mother and for a baby. Aftercare from a birthing partner is also very important to me, as I know that by having my husband there with me we can begin to bond with our baby as a family and he can support me after birth. After birth is a time when many women feel emotional and vulnerable and need a great deal of support with how they are feeling and help with their new baby. I believe this support shouldn’t be taken away from them. 

I think it is also important to understand that for a woman giving birth there is nothing more upsetting and stressful than not having your loved one by your side when you need them. At 7 months pregnant I recently went through a terrifying car crash, it was scary and emotional and I was having contractions. After being taken by the ambulance, my husband wasn’t even allowed in with me to the hospital when our baby was being checked. Letting go of his hand while I was taken away to find out if our baby was ok was certainly the most stressful thing I’ve gone through during my pregnancy, and just as stressful for him to wait outside not knowing if we were going to be ok. I just wanted support for each other and for him to be next to me while we find out if our baby is ok. This is what set me thinking about how stressful birth will be for me if I know he won’t be there with us before and after.  Plenty of women will also be having inductions and could be in labour for over 24 hours, I think it is unfair for them to go through this alone. I think it would also be of great help to the midwives that are usually over stretched and working hard in hospitals because if partners were allowed to stay the whole time they would be there to offer care and support to the expectant mothers which would mean that a Midwife’s time could be spent focusing on more important tasks and it would mean their work day is less stretched and busy. If a partner has been allowed in the maternity unit during active labour there is no difference in terms of safety for them to stay the rest of the time. They will have already come into contact with all the midwives, doctors and other patients and as long as proper precautions are taken it would not make a difference to people’s safety if they were allowed to stay for the whole duration of their partners stay. 
My husband has already missed out a great deal of involvement in my pregnancy by not being able to come to scans, check ups and not knowing if our baby was ok after our crash. Please do not take away my husbands right to support me and have quality time with our baby when we need him most after birth, this is a journey we want to go through together and not me by myself. Please do not compromise on any expectant mothers and babies health by taking away their rights to support and feeling safe and cared for.