NHS England has made adjustments to its advice regarding pregnancy and partners, meaning that pregnant people in England should now be allowed their birthing partner with them at all times, through all maternal care.

NHS England said: “We are asking all trust boards to urgently complete any further action needed so that partners can accompany women to all appointments and throughout birth.”

This will include scans, appointments, the whole of labour and the postnatal window, provided that the partner in question is not showing any signs of COVID-19. Prior to the 12 week and 20 week scans, you will both have to take a COVID-19 test.

A document sent to NHS Trust’s by NHS England said:

Maternity services across England have sought, throughout the pandemic, to ensure that women have a single asymptomatic birth partner with them during labour, birth and the immediate postnatal period. Services have been working towards further opening of maternity settings to support people since the end of the first lockdown.

Pregnant women value the support from a partner, relative, friend or other person through pregnancy and childbirth as it facilitates emotional wellbeing and is a key component of safe and personalised maternity care. Women should therefore have access to support at all times during their maternity journey and trusts should facilitate this, while keeping the risk of transmission of the virus within NHS maternity services (including to pregnant women, other service users and staff) as low as possible.

This means welcoming the woman and her support person, regarding them as an integral part of both the woman and baby’s care throughout and not as a visitor. It includes making sure that women can safely take a support person to:

• the early pregnancy unit
• all antenatal scans
• other antenatal appointments where the woman considers it important to have
• labour and birth from the point of attendance at the hospital or midwifery unit.

The full document can be viewed at Briefing template (england.nhs.uk)