THE MP for the Vale of Clwyd is calling on the Welsh Health Minister to ensure all Welsh Health Boards allow a partner to attend all pregnancy scans and be present throughout the entirety of labour amid changes made during the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr James Davies says he has been 'made aware' of a number of cases locally where expectant mothers have been unable to receive the support from partners they ordinarily would, because of the Covid restrictions in place.

Whilst recognising the importance of keeping infection rates down, Dr Davies believes the risk could be managed.

He is concerned about the impact the restrictions are having on expectant and new mothers and their partners and has therefore written to the Welsh Health Minister, Vaughan Gething MS, urging him to take action to address the matter.

His letter states: “Whilst pregnancy can be the most exciting time in a woman’s life, it can unfortunately for some bring with it great heartache and worry. It is not an experience that anyone should be forced to experience alone, and we should do everything within our power to protect the family unit and ensure women have the support and encouragement they require from their chosen birth partner throughout their pregnancy and labour.

“For partners, the connection with a baby is strongly forged in the first few hours after the birth, when he or she is held for the first time. Being made to leave the hospital just an hour after the birth can have negative effects on the family unit and the bond between father and baby. From my own personal experience as a father, I cannot imagine missing the scans; having to leave my wife during the early stages of labour; and leaving my sons soon after they were born.

“Locally, I have been made aware of numerous stories of birth partners missing the birth of their baby; women receiving devastating news alone; partners left feeling excluded and missing out on valuable time with their new-born. What should be happy experiences have been left tainted by the restrictions being imposed.

“Whilst I understand the restrictions have been put in place to limit the spread of infection, I feel that we need to ensure all Health Boards are working hard to ensure that mothers are supported throughout their pregnancy and at all stages of their labour, wherever possible.

“The mental health of pregnant women is of utmost importance and the current restrictions are causing unnecessary worry and concern at a time when women already feel extremely vulnerable.

“I would be very grateful if you could ensure all Welsh Health Boards are allowing a partner to attend all scans and be present throughout the entirety of labour. There are many ways in which the small risks that this might pose could be managed."