Birth partners now able to attend 20-week scans

Birth partners will be able to join women for pregnancy scans from Tuesday (October 6) after measures were introduced to protect staff and patients from Covid-19.

Pregnancy
Birth partners to be allowed to attend 20-week scans.

Maternity and sonography teams at Hull Women and Children’s Hospital have worked together for months to find a way for birth partners to attend 20-week scans.

From tomorrow, partners will be able to attend the 20-week scan and see the unborn babies on a second screen, separate from scanning machines, in the same room as women and sonographers.

Janet Cairns, Head of Midwifery at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We have been working for months to look at how we can adapt our service to allow partners to attend scans.

“Unfortunately, our options were limited because of the size of our scan rooms and our waiting area. Space in our hospital has to be prioritized for patient care and we thank people for their understanding as we’ve worked to find a solution.

“Introducing a second screen in each room allows us to maintain social distancing, minimizing the risk of infection for the couple and our staff.”

Second screens have been installed for mums-to-be to view the scan in progress with their partner in scan rooms while the sonographer will continue to use the screen on existing scanning machines.

Janet Cairns said: “It’s not been quite as straightforward as people would imagine as we’ve had to fund the cost of additional equipment at a time when NHS resources need to be concentrated on the pandemic and its recovery.

“We’re very grateful that our trust has recognised the impact this has been having on women and families and have supported our work to find a solution.

“We understand how difficult it’s been for families and we’re grateful for their patience and understanding during this difficult time for them and our staff.”

The reintroduction of enabling partners to attend the 20-week scan is the latest easing of restrictions introduced in March at the start of the pandemic in line with national guidance.

Named birth partners can stay with women during labour and for a short time after the baby’s birth. Those same people can also arrange booked visiting slots with the staff on Rowan ward following the baby’s birth.

Other restrictions are under constant review by midwifery teams and will be lifted as soon as it is considered safe to do so.

[Allison Coggan – Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust]