CAMPAIGNERS are calling on St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals to allow pregnant woman to be accompanied at scans.
Pregnant Then Screwed is a group that supports women who have faced maternity or pregnancy discrimination.
They have joined forced with Alicia Kearns MP to campaign to lift coronavirus restrictions on maternity units so that women do not have to attend scans, appointments or labour without their birth partner during the pandemic.
They state that clear guidance has been shared by the Government , The Royal College of Midwives, The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists – and that the chief midwife have all written to hospital trusts asking that they lift these restrictions to allow the same birth partner to attend scans with the pregnant woman.
St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust has strict rules, including no partners for scans or appointments and a partner is only allowed to be present during labour.
One mum who is being cared for by the trust from St Helens, so wishes to remain anonymous, is also fighting for a change in the rules.
She said: “I’m 30 weeks pregnant, I’ve been to all scans and appointments alone. It’s my first child.
“It’s not fair for my husband, he wants to be involved, and so we’ve had to book private scans.
“The guidelines are also so patchy, the midwives don’t know what is happening, which makes me more anxious.
“What concerns me most is the lack of transparency.”
Aceil Haddad, from Pregnant Then Screwed, added: “We feel that for expectant mothers to attend scans alone should not even be a consideration.
“Birth is an exciting time, but for some it is a sad and stressful time and women, sometimes expecting their first child, are having to attend these sessions alone without the support of a birth partner.
“We understand the restrictions placed on hospitals by the Government, but a birth partner is crucial for the support, care and advocacy of a pregnant woman and we truly believe one birth partner should be allowed to attend all scans with the pregnant woman.
“Most birth partners live in the same house as the pregnant woman, therefore they are no more at risk at attending appointments and would of course have to adhere to the PPE and restrictions put in place, but to ask women to go through a major life event such as birth alone is not acceptable.
“Anxiety and stress are key worries for pregnant women, who are already facing being pregnant during a pandemic, the least they should have is their birth partner to attend and support them at their scans.”
A spokesperson for St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust, said: “The Maternity Unit is situated within Whiston Hospital, one of the busiest acute hospitals in the region, where some of the most vulnerable people are being treated for life-threatening illnesses and the number of covid positive patients is increasing rapidly.
“Throughout the pandemic, the boroughs that we serve have consistently had amongst the highest infection rates in the country, with the Liverpool City Region currently in Tier 3 lockdown.
“We do not take decisions about restrictions lightly, but maintain that it is essential to reduce the number of people accessing the hospital in order to protect the safety of all patients and staff.
“One birth partner is able to accompany women in labour during their time on Delivery Suite, and our staff are working tirelessly to ensure that women are fully supported throughout their pregnancy and birth journey. ”