Birthing partners during COVID-19
Once a midwife or consultant has confirmed you are in labour and need to remain in hospital to have your baby, your birthing partner will be able to join you either in the delivery suite or MLBU at any time of the day or night. If you are moved to the maternity inpatient ward during the early stages of your labour (usually after induction as this can take some time) then your birthing partner is allowed to remain with you between the hours of 8am to 8pm. The reason we have to limit this timeframe on the inpatient wards is because visiting for women who are not in labour is from 8am to 8pm only and it would be unfair to only restrict visiting for some and not others. If your labour progresses then you will be moved back to the delivery suite and your birthing partner can immediately join you.
The birthing partner MUST be the designated visitor for the entire time that the individual is in hospital. This is to help reduce the risk of cross-infection. Birthing partners are able to stay until the move to the post-natal ward return at one of the allocated visiting slots, which are:
No visitors will be permitted to stay overnight during this time.
Please note the below is our information pre-covid and is currently not the guidance you should be referring to at this time. Your birthing partner can be anyone you choose; your partner, a close friend or a relative. The most important thing your birth partner can do is to just be with you during this new chapter.
Beforehand, it's good to talk to your birthing partner about the type of birth you would like and the things that you would prefer not to do, so they can help support you in your decisions. It can help to go through your birth plan together.
Your birthing partner could also accompany you to antenatal classes to learn other ways and techniques to help support you:
- Keep you company and help to pass the time during the early stages
- Hold your hand, wipe your face and give you sips of water
- Massage your back and shoulders, help you move about, change position or anything else that helps
- Comfort you as your labour progresses and contractions get stronger
- Remind you how to use relaxation and breathing techniques, even breathing with you
- Support your decisions, such as the pain relief you choose
- Help you explain to the midwife or doctor what you need - and the other way around - which can help you feel much more in control of the situation
- Tell you what's happening as your baby is being born, if you can't see for yourself
Cutting the umbilical cord - can be done by your birth partner and you can talk to your midwife about this.
For many parents, being together during labour and welcoming your baby together is an experience you cannot put into words.