Maternity hospitals have started to ease their visitor restrictions

As the Republic of Ireland begins to ease their Covid restrictions, maternity hospitals around the country have been advised to alleviate visitor restrictions surrounding maternity care.

When speaking to The Examiner, HSE Clinical Director of the Women and Children Health Programme, Dr Peter McKenna explained that maternity hospitals need to assess themselves in order to allow partners of pregnant women to be given more visitation privileges. 

“I would be asking hospitals to have a close look at their situation and bear in mind the community rate is falling, staff have been vaccinated. And hopefully, they will consider themselves in a position to become more liberal. Each hospital should assess this individually,” Dr McKenna said.

Already, Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) have begun to allow partners of new mothers to visit their newborn babies for one hour at a time, on one of their postnatal wards, as reported by the publication.

They’ve launched a visitor’s app to monitor the process, and hope to expand it in two weeks time once they are happy that there are no technical issues.

Currently there is no other information available on other maternity hospitals across the country changing their policies around Covid restrictions and maternity care.

Throughout the pandemic, mums and mums-to-be have had to attend scans and antenatal appointments alone, without the support of their partner. They have had to go through the majority of their labour and birth alone. Many have had to receive life changing news or heartbreaking diagnoses by themselves, with their partner waiting outside in the carpark.

This has caused an uproar among the parenting community, with petitions being signed and letters being written to the government, imploring them to ease these restrictions around maternity care.

For a short time before Christmas last year, maternity restrictions had eased to allow partners of pregnant women to attend the 20-week anomaly scan. However, this allowance was shortly taken away again after Ireland entered a Level 5 lockdown.