Pregnant women allowed partner support ‘at all times' after campaign by Sheffield MP

Pregnant women are to be allowed to have their partner present at appointments, during labour, and after birth following a campaign by a Sheffield MP.

Wednesday, 16th December 2020, 1:29 pm

NHS rules have been changed in England so that expectant mothers can have one person with them “at all times” during maternity appointments, labour and after birth as long as their support partner is not showing any symptoms of coronavirus.

It comes after Sheffield Hallam MP Olivia Blake spoke of her "very difficult" miscarriage during the pandemic in a Westminster Hall debate on baby loss.

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Olivia Blake, MP for Sheffield Heeley, welcomed the new guidelines after experiencing a 'very difficult' miscarriage earlier this year

The blanket ban on visiting patients or accompanying them to appointment in England was lifted on June 5, leaving individual NHS authorities to decide – although many continued to prevent partners from attending scans.

Ms Blake told MPs she had raised concerns about the issue on behalf of her constituents in June.

"Little did I know that I would be experiencing a miscarriage in August and having to go through some of the issues that my constituents had raised with me," she said.

"Going to A&E, my partner having to wait in the car park, getting confused and muddled about my dates, being unable to have a hug, someone to hold my hand or support to hear the news that I was having a miscarriage.

“Receiving bad news on your own is not only incredibly traumatic and challenging, but then having to go and repeat that news to your partner in a car park is another level of difficult.”

Calling for the Government to “do more” to ensure that no woman has to go through a similar experience, Ms Blake added that “no one should have to hear news on their own”.

She welcomed the new guidelines on Monday which require NHS providers to review their current rules.

“This is such welcome news for pregnant women across England, many of whom up until now have been forced to go through some of the most difficult moments of their life, alone,” Ms Blake said.

"I said earlier this year that I didn’t want anyone else to go through what I had gone through. And now, hopefully, they won’t have to.”

Ms Blake said the change must be "implemented quickly and fully” in every NHS trust in England so that pregnant women can be “supported properly.”

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