New NHS England guidance has been published to support maternity services in allowing partners and other visitors to accompany pregnant women to appointments and scans, and to visit when they are in hospital.
During the Covid-19 pandemic Sands has heard from pregnant women and their partners worried about the impact of changes to guidance on visitors to maternity services. They told us that the stress of attending scans and other antenatal appointments on their own was the number one issue.
"We are delighted to see these guidelines being released but would urge hospitals to implement them on a local level as soon as possible as we are hearing all too often of the distress it is causing to women not to be able to have their partners with them. It is devastating to receive the news that your baby has died in any circumstance, but to be on your own and without a partner is not something that we should be putting any mother through."
Clea Harmer, Sands Chief Executive
Scans are important for all parents but they are even more fraught with worry for those who have been previously bereaved.
One in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage and every day in the UK around 14 babies die before, during or soon after birth. The majority of women (66%) who have a stillbirth are pregnant again within a year. A Sands survey of parents in May found that 70% of those who responded were pregnant following a previous loss.
Now that this guidance is out Sands is calling on NHS Trusts across England to act urgently to ensure it is implemented. No one should ever have to be on their own when hearing the devastating news that their baby has died.