AIMS Ireland seeks justification for banning birthing women having their partner present during labour and birth in Ireland

AIMS Ireland seeks data to justify hospitals banning partners from accompanying birthing women in labour and being present for the birth of their baby during the Corona virus crisis.

AIMS Ireland, the voice of maternity service users in Ireland, is calling on the Department of Health to clarify if and why it is preventing partners from supporting pregnant women and being present at the birth of their babies.

Recent reports suggest that hospitals have “banned” partners from attending births because of coronavirus measures. AIMS Ireland has received many representations from people concerned about these reports
and the anxiety they are causing amongst the population of pregnant people and their families. AIMSI notes the WHO advice is as follows:
“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.”

With this in mind, AIMS asks the following questions of the Department of Health on behalf of maternity service users:
How will the exclusion of a partner from labour and birth protect a baby and mother from catching COVID19?

The partner will have supported the mother in early labour at home, will have driven her to the hospital and will collect her and baby and look after them both at home afterwards. Why interrupt vital partner support at the most vulnerable process of birthing?

How will the presence of a partner in the labour room increase the risk to the mother and baby of catching COVID19?

AIMS Ireland requests that data associated with the risk assessment that prompted this decision of banning birth partners be released.

AIMS Ireland would like an assurance that the perinatal mental health of the birthing person and their partner were factored into such a risk assessment.

Finally, if this measure is being implemented because a risk assessment indicated that enabling partners to be present at the birth of their child offered an increased risk to staff, AIMS Ireland asks that the HSE be honest in such communications with the public.
“The protection and safety of maternity care professionals is paramount, but so too is the protection of the perinatal mental health of the birthing person and their partners” said AIMS
Ireland Chair, Krysia Lynch.

“We would recommend that other options that can satisfy both criteria be considered and exhausted before leaving women to birth without the emotional support upon which they had been relying” she added.

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact Emily McElarney, AIMS PR Officer on 0863856225 or AIMS Chair Krysia Lynch on 0877543751

AIMS Ireland is a consumer-led voluntary organisation that was formed in early 2007 by women, following their own experiences in the Irish maternity system. Our mission is to inform the public on models of care, birth practices and settings, which are supported by evidence-based
research and international best practices, and to identify areas of excellence within the Irish Maternity System and to advocate for their extension. Our mission is also to speak on behalf of the service user experience in Ireland as to where evidence based practices are lacking, as to where care is unsafe and as to where new investment and services are needed. We also campaign for recognition of maternal autonomy and issues surrounding informed choice and informed refusal for maternity service usrers in all aspects of maternity services. In addition we offer support to people who have been adversely affected by their experience of the Irish
Maternity System via our support team and our support network.

WHO information for pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding
WHO Clinical guidance for those testing positive for COVID 19

#aimsireland #covid19 #coronavirus

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