Press Release 6th October 2021
AIMSI reiterate the important distinction that lifting maternity restrictions is not confined to the definition of “the unrestricted presence of one support partner”.
AIMSI wrote to clarify this distinction prior to the recent meeting with HSE Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control Team, The Chief Clinical officer and The National Women’s and Infants and Health Program.
Pre Covid conditions in our maternity service ensured that there was one nominated birth partner and an additional birth support person for any birthing person who chose this.
Many women were happy to go in with their one support partner, some went in on their own and some took a second birth partner, usually a professional birth person (a doula), or another experienced woman such as their mother. This is especially the case in a teenage pregnancy or for women who find themselves in more vulnerable positions.
In some hospitals / units, this was part of the hospital’s policy and no formal request was even required to secure the presence of a doula. In other hospitals /units women were asked to notify the labour ward manager or the Director of Midwifery of their intention to be accompanied by a doula in advance.
Research on the improvement of maternal outcomes when doulas are present is very favorable.
In no maternity unit in the land in February 2020 were women denied their partner AND an additional birth partner.
Speaking today AIMS Ireland Chair Krysia Lynch said “It was disappointing to hear a persistent narrative today that pre Covid maternity guidelines were defined as the continuous presence of one birth partner only. This was never the case in pre Covid Ireland. All maternity units enabled the presence of a second birth partner or doula. Not acknowledging this as ground zero would be a retrograde step for maternity service users in Ireland. Ensuring the presence of doulas in our maternity care system was a hard won battle by advocacy groups and took over 10 years to achieve. We cannot allow this to be swept under the table and nullified by a misinformed, albeit well intentioned, narrative.”
1. AIMS Ireland is a Voluntary Organisation and Charity founded in 2007 that offers support and information to pregnant people and others using the Irish Maternity Services. AIMS Ireland campaigns for evidenced based care and has been an instrumental service user representative in the National Maternity Strategy Steering Group, The National Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Strategy Steering Group, The National Standards for Safer Better Maternity Care and The National Maternity Experience Survey.
2. AIMS Ireland have continuously campaigned for a removal for any maternity care restrictions that do not have a concrete evidence base or which are not part of a robust risk assessment.
3. AIMS Ireland recognises the right of pregnant labouring and postnatal people to the support of a doula and the right of Doulas in Ireland to work.