THE Irish Birth Movement has announced a protest for the easing of maternity restrictions outside University Maternity Hospital, Limerick next week.
A group of women, including mothers, midwives, doulas and other birth activists are
protesting at various locations nationwide. They have organised these protests as a response to the apparent negligence of a roadmap for when maternity restrictions will be eased as the rest of society reopens.
Their Mid-West protest is planned for May 16 at 12pm following their claim a woman has a right to her chosen partner’s presence throughout the duration of her pregnancy, labour, and birth in line with the World Health Organisations guidelines.
The group stresses that partners are not visitors – rather they are an essential part of the process and support needs of the woman.
“The restrictions come at a high cost: international research has documented that maternity restrictions cause great concern for many women and contribute to a significant rise in perinatal mental health issues.”
The group has requested a partner should be able to attend booking scans and all other antenatal appointments, visit the antenatal ward, visit the maternity ward after the birth and during the postpartum period and be present throughout labour and birth as well as unlimited visitation to the neonatal unit.
Nominated partners were given 45-minute visiting slots in University Maternity Hospital Limerick (UMHL) on Monday, as Covid-19 restrictions eased.
Partners will be able to visit in postnatal wards, M1 and M2, between the hours of 6pm and 8pm daily.
Meanwhile, visiting on compassionate grounds will continue to be facilitated, as it has been throughout the pandemic.
Birthing partners will also continue to be supported in attending the Labour Ward and theatre.
All nominated partners must adhere to the wearing of face masks, observe hand hygiene and social distancing. Temperature monitoring is in place at the main reception, along with the completion of a Covid-19 screening questionnaire.
The measures are subject to change, and hospital management will continue to review the situation on a weekly basis, to plan for the safe, controlled and phased relaxation of restrictions, and to ensure all processes are safely introduced and managed.
Eileen Ronan, Director of Midwifery at UL Hospitals’ Group, said: “Risk assessment has been continuing, and we’re pleased to be in a position to reintroduce these 45-minute visiting slots for partners of women on the postnatal wards from May 10.
“Visiting restrictions, while necessary during the pandemic, have been very difficult, both for women attending the hospital and their partners and loved ones, and we are delighted to be able to safely permit these postnatal visiting slots, which will allow parents and their children to be closer at this most important time in their lives,” Ms Ronan added.
by Dan Danaher