PORTLAOISE hospital has issued updated guidelines for partners attending its maternity unit, in response to a query from the Laois Nationalist.
In a statement issued last Friday, the hospital reassured women that their partners can attend scans and the birth, provided they have no covid-19 symptoms.
Latest HSE guidelines are that partners with no virus symptoms should be welcomed at the 12-week scan, as well as the 20-week scan. They can also attend the birth and caesarean sections.
The statement says: “The Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise (MRHP) has continued to facilitate partners attending for birth throughout the covid-19 pandemic. The hospital is managing access and visiting to the maternity services in accordance with national guidance. MRHP is compliant with HSE guidance.
“Partners can attend for the anatomy scan and the booking scan. Partners are facilitated to attend the birth, once the woman is admitted to the delivery suite in labour and partners are encouraged and facilitated to remain for the duration of labour, the birth of the baby and up to one hour on the post-natal ward. This includes the induction of birth in the delivery suite.
“Partners are also facilitated to be present in theatre at caesarean section for the birth of the baby.
“Scheduled visiting to the maternity ward is facilitated for ante-natal, post-natal women and also in exceptional circumstances, which is arranged by appointment.
Scheduled visiting is facilitated in the special care baby unit.
“The implementation of restrictions was in a time of intense pressure and uncertainty as hospitals responded to the covid-19 pandemic. These decisions were taken in the best interest of expectant mothers, their families and our staff. The hospital fully accepts and understands the impact of the restrictions, particularly at the height of the pandemic, and how difficult this is for expectant mothers and their families.
“The easing of these restrictions is not straightforward and must take account of the limitations of our existing infrastructure, so we can comply with social distancing and ensure the ongoing safety of expectant mothers, their newborn babies and staff.
“Arrangements will be kept under constant review and in the full consideration of the safety of the women and families attending our services.
“You should get a covid-19 vaccine to protect yourself from the virus if you are: pregnant, trying for a baby or might get pregnant in the future or are breastfeeding.
“You will need two doses of a vaccine: the first dose should be at or after 14 weeks of pregnancy, the second dose should be before the end of 36 weeks.
“For more information, visit https://www2.hse.ie/screening-and-vaccinations/covid-19-vaccine/get-the-vaccine/pregnancy/.