Press Releases and Research

Press Release – We have a roadmap for the nation But Not For Maternity

Press Release April 2021: Campaign group ‘But Not Maternity’ is today releasing figures to show the nationwide status of UK maternity restrictions across 154 NHS Trusts

The But Not Maternity Alliance is today releasing figures to show the nationwide status of UK maternity restrictions across 154 NHS Trusts and Boards. These figures highlight the huge variation from service to service. But Not Maternity is calling on the government to include maternity services in their roadmap back to normality.

Over the last 6 months, the #ButNotMaternity campaign has seen numbers shifting in the right direction. The number of Trusts/Boards allowing partners to attend for any part of an induction has risen from a mere 5% in October 2020 to a more positive 56% in February 2021. Additionally, partner attendance at 12-week scans has risen from 51% to 76%, but just 25% of partners have been able to attend antenatal appointments. Around a third of services are still not allowing partners on the postnatal ward at all. Where this is allowed visiting hours vary wildly from 1 hour-24 hours per day.

Scott Mair of Paternal Mental Health is quick to point out the adverse mental health effects restrictions have on fathers “I talk with dads every day that feel disconnected from their pregnancy and helpless to support their partners as much as they need.” AJ Silver of The Queer Birth Club says: “By being left out of appointments is adversely affecting partners as well birthing people. In particular, parents using surrogacy to grow their families, and non-gestational parents going through IVF are being made to feel even further removed from the process.”

Abbi Leibert, But Not Maternity Campaigner states “It has been heartening to see that since the campaign started there has been a positive change. But there is a huge amount more to be done. There are still many parents coping with trauma caused by restrictions. Some maternity services are managing to give fathers and partners pretty much open access. It’s now time for others to catch up. We need to see all Trusts recognising that partners are not visitors, and need to be accommodated at every stage of the maternity journey.”

Scotland is currently paving the way with partners being allowed to attend all elements of pregnancy, labour, and birth appointments under government guidance, even in Tier 4. We are calling for Government to set deadlines for maternity restrictions to be lifted.

New research from charity Pregnant Then Screwed has revealed that since December a staggering 77% of women who received bad news about their pregnancy were on their own at the time. 1 in 5 (18%) women have been separated from their baby some or part of the time. The Alliance members have all received heartbreaking messages from families struggling with the trauma caused by the restrictions, and those left with uncertainty over what support they may have in the months to come.

Joeli Brearley, Founder and CEO, Pregnant Then Screwed, ‘As the rest of the UK starts to open its doors, women continue to suffer alone in hospitals, giving birth without the full support of their birth partner and receiving earth-shattering news alone. This is not okay. Birth partners are advocates and a critical component of the pregnancy and birthing process and they must be treated as such. So we are asking, for crying out loud, please do not allow socialisation in pubs without a plan in place to stop women giving birth alone.’


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