It Took A Petition For NSW To Allow A Support Person In COVID Maternity Wards

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The COVID-19 pandemic has changed things for all of us. And for many expectant women in New South Wales hospitals, tough restrictions have meant going without a support person throughout their maternity care.
On Tuesday however, NSW Health announced a new directive to each Local Health District after the #EndBirthRestrictions petition, which called for a support person to be present during labour, birth and postpartum periods, attracted more than 34,000 signatures.
The updated advice means that women may have their partner or support person with them in the birth unit and postnatal and antenatal wards during the current COVID-19 outbreak where Greater Sydney is in lockdown. Each woman can nominate one partner or support person during this period, and that person must meet the COVID-19 entry screening criteria to the facility.
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"The Clinical Excellence Commission’s COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control manual has been updated to include a new visitor category called ‘participant in care’," a NSW Health spokesperson said in a statement provided to Refinery29 Australia.
While this is a positive step, Sydney woman Sarah Fowler, who authored the petition, has now encouraged social media followers to put pressure on local hospitals to ensure they actually implement the new rules.
"Sometimes hospitals need a bit of pressure, a little fire, a little push to pull their finger…I mean to do the right thing," she wrote on Instagram on Wednesday morning.
She also hoped another recommendation outlined in the petition will be considered next: that all women attending regular hospital antenatal appointments be permitted to have their children and one chosen support person with them at all times. This will assist mothers struggling to arrange childcare, especially during lockdown.
NSW Health, it's back to you.

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