Prevent hospitals banning dads / partners from the birth of their baby during COVID-19

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While we understand the need to protect all patients and health care workers, leaving women to birth without their partners (or doula) where a relationship and continuity of care has already been established is going to create more fear, anxiety, stress, trauma and possibly mental health problems during the postpartum period and beyond.  

This is being considered – right here in Perth - and former President of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) Dr Michael Gannon says: “one thing we may end up seeing is husbands and partners told they are not welcome at the birth. Now that will be a horrible time, but everyone is adjusting to a new normal.” If you are unsure about signing this petition, or you think this is fear mongering, then watch the Channel 7 News Perth video link and then decide if you feel it is worth signing to "prevent" it happening. It is harder to change something once it has been passed.

WATCH CHANNEL 7 NEWS VIDEO

Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) 31/03/20:

"The College supports the World Health Organisation recommendations that a chosen support person should be able to accompany a woman giving birth. There is no current plan to change this advice. Pregnancy and childbirth are such an important time in a woman's life. We must work together to safeguard women's mental health, experience during birth and facilitate and support parents' connection with their newborn babies."

These extreme policies of separation and preventing partners from being present to witness the birth of their baby, or care for the baby while having skin on skin if the mother has to go for surgery, goes against human rights and is unethical.

A policy such as this is going to increase the likelihood of women choosing to have a free birth (birthing without medical support) in order to feel safe. 

Research shows that by having continuous support from a non-medical person this lowers interventions and caesareans, which will lead to less time in hospital and less resources being utilised - and that should be one of the key goals in addition to infection control and safety.

It is important that pregnant women and their partners have:

  • A guarantee that birthing women will continue to be allowed at least one support person of their choosing at their birth;
  • A guarantee that birthing women will continue to be allowed a support person of their choosing in theatre should they be having a caesarean section;
  • A guarantee that women recovering from birth will continue to be allowed at least one visitor for extended periods of time while recovering from birth;
  • A review of the current policy that excludes doulas and private midwives from providing an essential service to birthing women in hospitals.  

 

POSITION STATEMENTS

Australian College of Midwives (ACM)

CLICK HERE

 

World Health Organisation (WHO)

All pregnant women, including those with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infections, have the right to high quality care before, during and after childbirth. This includes antenatal, newborn, postnatal, intrapartum and mental health care.

- A safe and positive childbirth experience includes:
- Being treated with respect and dignity;
- Having a companion of choice present during delivery;
- Clear communication by maternity staff;
- Appropriate pain relief strategies:
- Mobility in labour where possible, and birth position of choice.

If COVID-19 is suspected or confirmed, health workers should take all appropriate precautions to reduce risks of infection to themselves and others, including hand hygiene, and appropriate use of protective clothing like gloves, gown and medical mask. 

CLICK HERE

 

Cochrane Review

“We conclude that all women should have continuous support during labour. Continuous support from a person who is present solely to provide support, is not a member of the woman's social network, is experienced in providing labour support, and has at least a modest amount of training, appears to be most beneficial. In comparison with having no companion during labour, support from a chosen family member or friend appears to increase women's satisfaction with their childbearing experience.”

You can read the full review here:
CLICK HERE