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Serious consideration should be given to relaxing restrictions around pregnant women being accompanied, says Long

Serious consideration should be given to relaxing the restrictions around pregnant women being accompanied by birth partners at ante natal appointments and births, Alliance Leader Naomi Long MLA has said.

East Belfast MLA Mrs Long has written to Health Minister Robin Swann after being contacted by a number of constituents who had been left to attend ante natal appointments and scans alone, as well as be without a birth partner throughout labour and induction. She said it was important the Minister explored the option of removing these restrictions.

“I fully understand the reason why restrictions have been introduced in order to limit the number of people entering the hospital and minimise the risk of spread of COVID-19,” said Mrs Long.

“However, the impact on pregnant women and their partners has been significant – being present at ante natal appointments and scans is not only an important part of the bonding process, but is absolutely vital for those who receive difficult news. It is not acceptable they have to face that alone.

“Women should be allowed to be accompanied by a birth partner at their ante natal appointments and scans, as well as throughout labour and induction, and for a partner to remain with the mother and baby for longer than an hour post-birth.

“I have written to the Minister to ask him to given consideration to this and will continue to lobby so the wishes of parents can be accommodated at such an important time, and the maximum chance for partners to provide support for their partner and bond with the child is realised.”