Three-quarters of NHS trusts are not allowing birth partners to support mothers throughout their whole labour, despite being told by the NHS and the prime minister that they must urgently change the rules around visiting, the Guardian can reveal.
According to data collected for 144 trusts in England, Scotland and Wales by an independent doula and analysed by the Guardian, half of the trusts and health boards covered by the research were restricting partners from attending at least two of three key moments: the 12-week scan, the 20-week scan and the duration of labour.
As of Wednesday this week, in 50% of cases women have to go to their first 12-week scan alone, while 40% of women have to attend the 20-week scan – which identifies potential anomalies – without their partner because of continuing coronavirus restrictions.
Just 23% of trusts are allowing a birthing partner to be present at the hospital for the duration of labour, only allowing support in the later “established” phase.
Campaigners argue that as a result, some women are giving birth alone, or finding out they have miscarried or that there is something wrong with their baby without the support of their partner.