Dr Mary Ross-Davie, a director at the Royal College of Midwives (rcm.org.uk), told Dadsnet:
“Everything maternity services are doing during this pandemic is to ensure you, your baby, your family, and maternity staff are safe. They’re working incredibly hard to keep services as normal as possible, and your experience as positive as possible. They know how hard it is for you, and the worries you’ll have. That’s why they’re doing their very best to keep restrictions around partners at appointments, the birth, and on the postnatal ward to the absolute minimum.
“There have been reports in the media about women having to birth alone. This has never been the case in the UK. You’ve always been able to have someone with you once you’re properly in labour. If your partner has COVID-19 or is showing symptoms of it, for everyone’s safety, they can’t be there. That’s why we recommend you have alternative birth partners in case your chosen one can’t be there, so you still have support during the birth.
“We know there’s not been a consistent approach across the country around who can accompany you to appointments and scans, causing frustration and confusion. NHS England recently published new guidance on maternity visiting to help clarify this. It will help maternity services safely reintroduce measures so your partner can attend appointments and pregnancy scans with you. Other UK countries also have guidance.
“The guidance recognises that the changeable situation around infection rates and local lockdowns means maternity services may need to have different restrictions in place. It’s important we’re careful about the number of people in maternity units during this pandemic to keep everybody safe.
“Local services need to be able to make decisions about how open they can be to visitors. This will depend on staffing and the space they have for appointments. Some scanning rooms are small, making social distancing difficult. Services are finding ways to support partners to still be there, using video calls during scans and appointments, so you can have some appointments from your own home.
“Contact your local maternity services or your GP as soon as possible after you find out you’re pregnant. That way you can start getting the advice and support of your midwife early in your pregnancy, discuss and plan your care with them, and find out how they can support you to have your loved ones with you.”