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‘We’re all just tired’ – Pregnant woman calls for an end to maternity restrictions

I am a person who is less than three weeks out from my delivery. I should not be spending my days rallying”


Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly. Photo: Julien Behal/PA

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly. Photo: Julien Behal/PA

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly. Photo: Julien Behal/PA

A woman who is due to have an elective caesarean section on August 19 has urged those in power to end maternity restrictions around Covid-19 in all hospitals.

Natalie Britton said: “Every woman deserves the same treatment, regardless of where they’re living.”

Taking to social media on Tuesday, Ms Britton, addressed the Minister of Health, Stephen Donnelly, saying: “Hi @DonnellyStephen I’m having a C-section on Aug 19th. Husband is vaccinated.

"He will get a PCR test on 17th. He can take antigen tests at the hospital. I have a private room because of my unfortunate history of losing 4 pregnancies & am high risk. Why can he not stay with me?!”

Ms Britton’s husband will only be allowed into the hospital once she is ready for the caesarean, she said:

“He will be allowed in for the birth and into the recovery room and he can visit once a day.” However, she said that time limits are still uncertain for visitations on any of the following days.

Ms Britton is hopeful that something might change in the near future if people keep up the pressure.

“I am a person who is less than three weeks out from my delivery. I should not be spending my days rallying.

“I should be relaxing and focusing on the birth.

"The louder we can get, there’s a tiny glimmer of hope that something might happen sooner rather than later,” Ms Britton said.

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“Can we just let the parent of the child have access. No one wants an outbreak in hospitals of course, but if the partner can get in for two hours, why not six and if they can get in at three centimetres dilated why not one?” she said.

Ms Britton explained the concerns of expectant mothers leading up to their birth.

“We’re all just tired.

"The focus should be on de-stressing before the birth as it’s a traumatic time, but we’re all just wondering how much we’ll have to fight on the day to have our partners with us,” she said.

Ms Britton is open to antigen testing and any other solution which may see an end to maternity restrictions for parents.

“They’re not providing any solutions like antigen testing at the entrance of the hospital, it takes 15 minutes.

"Let’s double down on masking and sanitising.

“Pregnant couples in general are keeping themselves very safe and taking all precautions,” she said.

Acknowledging the great work of all hospital staff on the ground this last year, Ms Britton said: “Hospital staff are great, and I don’t think that’s an issue.

"People receive a lot of support from staff and they’re very compassionate and they’re run off their feet. It’s the rules from above.”

Ms Britton suffered a miscarriage this time last year and had to receive that devastating news alone.

She also had to undergo a D&C on her own a week after the couple found out they lost their baby; her husband was not allowed into the hospital.

“Every day, more women are having babies, and experiencing losses alone, and having gone through both of these, it’s terrible.

“You can’t equate the two, but you need your partner with you for both,” she added.

At Thursday's HSE press briefing, HSE chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry, said: "In mid-May, the HSE followed up with the 19 maternity units and all of them were fully compliant in facilitating partners to visit for a minimum of 30 minutes a day post-natal, facilitating partners to be on the labour ward, facilitating partners to attend the anomaly scan and facilitating visits to neonatal units.

"Further revised guidelines were issued on June 23, allowing partners accompany attendance at Early Pregnancy Assessment Units (EPAUs), facilitating visits by women considered to have a higher-risk pregnancy and emergency presentations during pregnancy.

"The great majority of hospitals are fully compliant with this guidance.” He said that it was hoped to ensure full compliance with the guidance “in the coming week”.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast yesterday morning, Dr Henry reiterated that “every maternity hospital will be following the same rules in the coming week.

"The real enemy here is the virus not the restrictions per se, but we have incrementally eased those restrictions,” he added.

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