Kildare mum calls for easing of maternity hospital Covid restrictions

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The hospital in Portlaoise.

Many people from South Kildare attend maternity services in Portlaoise Hospital

A Kildare mum is forging ahead with her campaign to ease Covid restrictions in maternity hospitals, which ban partners from the 20-week scan, early labour and other appointments.

The campaign by Rathangan resident Emma Carroll, has been backed by Senator Fiona O'Loughlin. 

“In September of last year, myself and Clare woman Ciara McGuane set up the In Our Shoes - Covid Pregnancy platform on Facebook and Instagram to tell the stories of the people affected by the restrictions placed on maternity care in March of last year, in people's own words,” said Emma who lives in Rathangan and had her baby in April 2019.

“We have been inundated with stories and experiences from people the length and breadth of the country, most recounting harrowing experiences. The stories paint a picture of the state of maternity care throughout this pandemic.”

The campaigning duo have also worked with Uplift to continue to highlight the plight of people accessing maternity care. Over-54,000 people have signed a petition to allow partners to be present for the entire duration of labour and at all antenatal scans. This was presented to various maternity units in December.

“No meaningful, evidence-based justifications have been provided for these restrictions, and the effects of the restrictions continue to cause untold damage to women, their partners and their babies,” she added.

“Both NPHET and the HSE have washed their hands of the problem, and due to governance structures in the 19 maternity units across the country, no answers have been given on these restrictions, or a timeline indicated for their removal.”

Senator O’Loughlin who had a meeting on Monday, April 13 with representatives from Covid Women’s Voices group has stated that she fully supports this campaign to lift restrictions in maternity hospitals.

 “I am writing to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly to ask that restrictions be lifted in maternity hospitals,” Senator O’Loughlin said.

“I fully support the campaign and I agree with it. Whilst regulations are in place to keep Covid infections down, the fact that medical and hospital staff are now all vaccinated should lead to a relaxation. Pregnancy is generally a happy time, but is not without its stresses and worries, and support of a partner/significant other is really important.”