Expectant mums are “thrilled” at the news that some maternity hospitals have begun easing coronavirus restrictions.
The HSE has issued a mandate to maternity hospitals allowing them to begin easing restrictions as the COVID-19 situation improves.
There are different rules in each of the country’s 19 hospitals and some will now begin easing restrictions on visiting partners.
On Lunchtime Live this afternoon, Dr Krysia Lynch, Chair of the Association for Improvements in Maternity Services (AIMS) Ireland said the news was “very welcome” for expectant parents.
“It has been a very, very long haul for parents and we are delighted to see some kind of light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.
“There has been a mandate from the HSE to enable individual hospitals to try and ease some of the restrictions.”
Dr Lynch said the different rules in hospitals around the country have been a problem for parents.
“One of the problems we have always had with the maternity restrictions is that they never seem to have been based on any kind of transparent risk assessment,” she said.
“Without that, it is very difficult to know which parts of those restrictions worked well, which parts might have been a bit of overkill and to audit them so that has always been a huge problem.”
She said post-natal visits will be the first to change.
“The first thing that is happening is that in some units – not in all, again not ideal for all people – what we are starting to see is a longer visiting period in the post-natal wards,” she said.
“So, this is great for mums who might be in the post-natal for a longer time period.
“For example, mums who have had a caesarean usually stay in hospital for three to five days so it was very difficult for them perhaps only seeing someone for an hour or, in some hospitals, not seeing anybody at all, which was very hard.”
She said partners should never have been viewed as ‘visitors’ when people were giving birth.
“Especially when somebody is just going into labour, they are not visitors, they are really part of that process,” she said. “So, I think a key issue for many, many people has been the process of arriving at the maternity hospital.
“When you do arrive it is exciting and it is mildly terrifying at the same time. You have anxieties and you have hopes and you have got fears.
“Then you leave the person who has been supporting you, go and get a COVID test - and hope to god it is negative - and then you have to wait to be allowed to be in a maternity birthing suite and to be allowed to have you partner come into you.
“You only get that when you are in labour enough and it could be four, five, six, seven, twelve hours in there on your own – and that has proven to be extraordinarily difficult as well.”
Also on the show, Joanne in Drogheda said she was “thrilled” restrictions are being eased ahead of her due date in May.
“This will be my second baby and I suppose the restrictions are completely understandable and at the end of the day, the hospital has to look after its staff because if the staff are not there, there is nobody to look after the mammies and the babies so I can understand the restrictions up until now,” she said.
“I suppose now we have the vaccine and numbers are coming down, it is great to hear they are starting to ease them.”
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