New NHS England guidance on birth partners

We welcome the latest guidance from NHS England, confirming that a mum should have access to support from a person of her choosing at all stages of her maternity journey.

New guidance

Earlier this week, NHS England brought out new guidance that mums should have a partner with them ‘at all stages of their maternity journey.’ This applies to scans and antenatal appointments, as well as while she is in labour. See the guidance in full here.

It is worth remembering though, that this is just a recommendation and it will depend on individual NHS Trusts. Also, your partner must be well and not show any signs of coronavirus.

In response to NHS England’s latest guidance on maternity services during the coronavirus pandemic, Elizabeth Duff, Senior Policy Adviser, NCT, said:

“We welcome this new guidance from NHS England which confirms ‘that a woman should have access to support from a person of her choosing at all stages of her maternity journey’. We agree that such presence ‘is a key component of safe and personalised maternity care’ and that partners should be treated as part of the team. Their support is often vital at antenatal appointments, through labour, birth and postnatal recovery and we’ve heard distressing and traumatic stories of when this hasn’t been possible.

Staff safety

However, the health and safety of those who work in maternity units is also paramount.

Elizabeth added: “We also appreciate how important it is that maternity staff are kept safe and are pleased to see NHS trusts urged to use testing capacity and other strategies to help mitigate infection risks. We encourage everyone involved – trusts, care providers, pregnant women, their partners and parents of newborns – to work together and take all the care they can to keep themselves and others safe.

“NCT and our partner organisations, including Birthrights, have called repeatedly for these changes to be made and are pleased to see new parents’ needs being recognised.”

More information

Read our articles on birth partners during the pandemic and birth and coronavirus.

We also have a wealth of information around labour and birth.