Friday, 14 October 2011

Ways to improve postnatal care #4: Allow partners 24 hours access

This applies to labour as well as postnatal care. One of the recurring themes that comes up again and again when women share their birth stories is that their partners were sent home, either when they were in labour and on the ward, having to soldier on alone and in pain, or shortly after delivery. 

Of course our partners need rest, and of course we need rest too, but it would be more helpful for our partners to be able to come and go so that we can manage our time ourselves. That way if the baby will only stop crying between 3am and 5am while being held, or indeed if you will only stop crying by being held, they can be on hand to do this. 

After all, in hospitals it's the nights that go on forever, when overstretched staff take ages to answer the call button, when you need help to get to the loo at 2am and when someone fetching a snack would be most useful. 

Related posts:
Ways to improve postnatal care #1: Don't call me mum
Ways to improve postnatal care #2: Change the sheets
Ways to improve postnatal care #3: Help us buy the basics

Why I love the NHS


  1. Hmmm but while I might want my own partner there I really don't want everyone else's partners wandering round the ward getting stroppy with staff and witnessing my crap initial efforts to breastfeed...

  2. I 100% agree with this. I believe sending the partners home at such a time can in some circumstances actually rather cruel. They are just as much a part of the situation as you are. And I know I would have coped so much better if my husband had been allowed to stay. I'd have got some much needed sleep for a start.

  3. Absolutely. I was taken to the postnatal ward at 10pm after a 18 hour labour and the resulting surgery, and my husband was packed off quick sharp - and not even told what time he could come back the next day.

    I recommend reading Rebecca Asher's 'Shattered: Modern motherhood and the illusion of equality'. One of the chapters covers how the state - especially the NHS, through such things as women-only antenatal classes and restriction of a new dad's access to his partner and new baby - influences parental roles even before a child is born.