SDLP Health Spokesperson Cara Hunter has welcomed reassurance from the Department of Health around maternity visits in hospitals.
Ms Hunter raised the issue at a meeting of the Assembly’s Health Committee on Thursday and called for empathy on the issue.
She expressed concern that with the rise of Covid cases and hospital admissions visitation rules at hospitals may change.
Ms Hunter asked for guarantees that no one would be expected to give birth without their partner present.
The East Derry MLA said:
“My office has been inundated with calls from expectant mothers concerned that visiting rules may be reintroduced that prevents their partner being with them before, during and after they give birth. We have seen a number of trusts decide to introduce restrictions again recently as a result in the spike in cases and hospital admissions.
“Restrictions on maternity visits earlier in the pandemic caused a huge amount of distress. Being pregnant and giving birth, especially for first time mums, can be a very worrying time and having your partner with you at important appointments, hospital visits and while giving birth provides a great comfort for many. I would call on the health trusts and Department of Health to show empathy around this and do everything within their power to avoid reintroducing these restrictions which negatively impacted on so many women.
“I welcome reassurance from Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Ian Young that much fewer people are contracting Covid while in hospitals compared with previous waves of the virus so there is less of a case for reimposing visiting restrictions. I hope this will bring comfort to worried mums to be at what should be one of the most special times in their life.”