Dear Professor Whitty & Mr. Matthew Hancock,
We are writing to express our concern over the continued restrictions and temporary policies in maternity care. Implemented during the initial outbreak of the Covid Pandemic, such restrictions were prudent but now, as lockdown eases and some NHS trusts are beginning to revert these rules, many others are continuing to restrict the rights of healthy pregnant women and birthing people for no apparent medical reason. We believe that the restrictions currently in place due to the Covid outbreak are not necessary, not based on scientific evidence, are disrespecting human rights and are not proportionate to achieve the objective of limiting the spread of the virus.
Right now, many NHS Trusts across the country are limiting birth partners to one and in other countries, birth partners are being stopped altogether. We are starting to see the cancellation of many homebirth services and birth centres are being shut down and used to isolate women with confirmed or suspected Coronavirus. This means for many women, the only place to have their baby, with the support of medically trained staff, is on an obstetric led ward in the hospital.
There are so many myths around childbirth that it can feel pretty overwhelming to try and sort the facts from the fibs. I’ve pulled together seven of the most common birth myths - and I bet you’ve heard of at least one of them!
Last month the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) decided, what felt like overnight, to effectively ban independent midwives from practising. I won’t go into all of the reasons why this is problematic in this blog post (for a great summary see Birthrights’ post here), but I’m sure you can imagine how worrying and unsettling it would feel to be a pregnant woman who had been planning on utilising the services of an independent midwife.
When women come on my doula course, one of their main concerns is how they will be perceived by midwives and other medical staff when they work as birth doulas. I can honestly say, that in the years that I’ve been a birth doula, I have never had any problems with the midwives that I have come into contact with.
Yesterday I was invited to attend a seminar at the House of Commons (Portcullis House) organised by 1001 Critical Days and Foundation Years Information and Research as a joint programme: Seizing the day to improve the nurture of our youngest children. It was also a day in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of UNCRC (United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child).
Kicki Hansard is a member of Doula UK, however any opinions expressed on this blog are personal views and not necessarily the view of Doula UK.