Plans being considered by the HSE could see partners take part in women’s maternity appointments virtually.
The pandemic has meant most pregnant women have faced scans and the early part of labour alone, as partners are currently only allowed to enter the wards once active labour begins.
The health service is now looking at introducing a telelink via a smartphone or camera to allow partners to be part of appointments, according to the Irish Times. It comes after calls had been made by politicians, including Lord Mayor of Dublin Hazel Chu, for Covid-19 visiting restrictions to be reviewed at maternity hospitals around the country.
Ms Chu previously said the mental health of pregnant women needed to be considered: “It is not just the physical health of people who are pregnant that we need to look at, it’s also the mental health.
“It’s a huge strain to not have that support there when you’re going through a pregnancy or after giving birth because it’s one of the most vulnerable and challenging times of your life, and it’s made even more challenging by the circumstances we are under.”
We have solved the issues with wet pubs, we have solved the issues with restaurants, we have somehow managed to figure out how to get people back into schools and universities, but we still can’t get people’s partners… into a room.
However, the new suggestion of partners attending appointments virtually has not been universally welcomed. Catherine Allman, who is 35 weeks pregnant, described the plan as “insulting”.
“We have solved the issues with wet pubs, we have solved the issues with restaurants, we have somehow managed to figure out how to get people back into schools and universities,” she said.
“But we still can’t get people’s partners – one additional person – into a room in this situation, and I think setting up Zoom links for doctor’s appointments is actually very insulting.”READ MOREMany vulnerable with old phones cannot access Covid app, professor says