baby news

Survey shows latest scale of lockdown birth partner and hospital visitor restrictions

Bounty survey reveals many mums-to-be due to give birth should have they birthing needs met as planned

Mums-to-be reassured birthing partner will be with them

Survey shows that the majority of mums-to-be say they have no reason to believe they will not be allowed their birthing partner with them when they give birth

It’s a worrying time for all during the Covid-19 outbreak and particularly if you’re due to give birth in the coming weeks. Bounty mums-to-be have told us they have a lot of questions about maternity care in these extraordinary times. So, to try and help answer some of these understandable concerns, we’ve conducted a survey of more than 1,200 Bounty app users, all who are in the last month of their pregnancy, to get realistic take on availability and restrictions of maternity services at the moment, to help reassure other mums-to-be and help manage their expectations for planning their birth experiences in the coming weeks.

These realities include 8 out of 10 expectant mothers are being reassured by their midwives that they won’t have to face ‘active’ labour without a birth partner.  

Around 1 in 3 of pregnant women hoping to have a home birth in the next few weeks, have been told that their home birth should still be able to go ahead.

Likewise, Bounty mums-to-be have raised questions about whether elective caesareans can go ahead during Covid-19. The good news is that our survey revealed that the majority (96%) of all women due to have an elective caesarean, are being told that these are still likely ahead to go ahead.  But to help manage expectation, 1 in 3 of women who are due to have an elective caesarean are being been told that the date may change, or their date has already been changed to accommodate resourcing.

For other women requesting a C-section, sometimes due to a previous traumatic birth, almost 9 out of 10 expectant mums have been given no reason to believe their choice will not be met.

Despite the visitor restrictions that many maternity hospital’s currently have in place, 8 out of 10 mothers should at least get to have their birth partner with them for the birth.  But most partners are asked to leave hospital after the birth and wait until mum and baby are discharged - 70% of those surveyed have been told by midwives that no visitors to the maternity ward are allowed. Although, for just 1 in 10 women due to give birth, the visitor restrictions may be more merciful, and they were being advised by midwives that they might be allowed one visitor, once a day.

Antenatal midwifery care before giving birth has been coping well during the Covid-19 situation.  In the last month, 93% of women due to give birth before this month say that they have managed to have usual appointments with their usual midwife, or a different midwife over the phone. Or if they hadn’t had their usual appointments, they were happy with the contact they’ve had from midwives. 

Fortunately, 94% of women who have had a clinical need for an appointment in their last month of pregnancy (e.g. they required a late pregnancy scan, or have pregnancy condition such as gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia or similar) have all said that said that they were still able to be seen in person. 

Despite lockdown measures 90% of women have also said that across their pregnancy they have had the recommended minimum of 6 general antenatal appointments – either in person or on the phone.   

Kate Marsh, Midwifery Manager at baby charity Tommy’s said: “We recognise there has been significant changes in maternity services recently, and this can lead to anxiety and uncertainty about what to expect during pregnancy and beyond.  We are here to support all pregnant women and their families through this time and answer any questions or concerns women may have. As part of this, we will be facilitating video Q&A podcasts with Bounty and its app users to answer questions, give support and dispel any myths.” 

Do you have a question you’d like answered by Kate Marsh, Tommy’s Midwife?

Email your question concerning your forthcoming birth or your antenatal care to and Kate Marsh and her team of midwives will answer as many as possible in the Bounty podcast due for broadcast later in May (we’ll let you know exactly when it airs!)

Here’s what some of the Bounty survey respondents told us about their recent experiences:  

Emma Sharkey gave birth to twins on 23rd April. They are currently in intensive care and her 6-year-old daughter is with grandparents 

“The twins are still in hospital as they were premature. I am unable to take my daughter with me to be with them and am also recovering from a C-section. My parents are both on the government shielding list and I’ve had to self-isolate with them and my daughter as otherwise there’d be no one to look after my daughter while I gave birth.”

Francesca Gibbs from Warwickshire is having an elective C-section of 27th May. Her mother is isolating for 7 weeks so she can look after her older child 

“I can honestly say the coronavirus outbreak has not affected my birth choices. I would like to have a water birth in a birthing suite which I’ve been told I can have. My birthing partner is allowed to be with me so long as he doesn’t present any coronavirus symptoms when the time comes. If I go over my due date, then I’ve opted for an elective caesarean and have been sent my date for that. We’ve also been reassured by our midwife about how the hospital is managing coronavirus patients versus those who show no symptoms and are happy with the approach. It’s a slick machine and we feel that we’ve been told what to do in all circumstances. For us, keeping in touch with our midwife and hospital for information has meant we feel in control.”

Anna Stanford from Surrey is due on 31st May and having to isolate from her husband - she and her children have moved in with her mum 

“Shortly before lockdown I made the choice to move with my 2 boys in with my mum so that I could get some help. My husband has to work so I didn’t want to risk any infection.”

Charlie Astrand, is a first-time mum from Cardiff, who has been able to change her plans from a hospital to a homebirth  

“I had had my heart set on a water birth at the midwife led unit, with my fiancé and my mum as my two birthing partners. 

“With the new regulations, we decided to change our birth plan completely at 37 weeks and opt for a home birth. We had a risk assessment call with a consultant midwife and went through the details of what it entails. I have also been into the hospital for a growth scan to ensure the baby is a decent size for a safe home birth. This appointment was daunting as I have not been anywhere near the hospital since COVID and obviously I had to go alone. 

“Now, we have a birthing pool ready and are awaiting the arrival of our baby in the comfort of our own home.”

Katie Vye, from Bedfordshire is a first-time mum and she has done an online hypnobirthing course

“Myself and my husband Josh have been self isolating for about 7 weeks now. We’ve followed a digital hypnobirthing course from the positive birth company which has been a saving grace in helping us to look forward to the labour and feel reassured in the knowledge of what can happen rather than the unknown.”

Tammy Woodford is expecting her first baby.  She lives in South Yorkshire and says she has had a good experience with midwife appointments and triage

“Triage have been brilliant on three occasions for me and midwife appointments have been safely carried out.”

Leah Wynes, is 29, live in Hampshire and is due her first baby on 26th May and says she’s happy with her antenatal midwife services

“I have anxiety towards being in a maternity hospital and my partner possibly only able to stay until I go to the postnatal ward, but you know what - it’s ok. The midwives and government are doing the best they can in a terrible situation and anything that has come my way with changes I have grasped. One thing I was worried about was the antenatal appointments but Princess Anne hospital have been recording them and putting on Facebook - I have to say wow! They are so informative and I feel so confident to give birth right now.”

Email your question for Kate Marsh, Tommy’s Midwife

Email your question concerning your forthcoming birth or your antenatal care to and Kate Marsh and her team of midwives will answer as many as possible in the Bounty podcast due for broadcast later in May (we’ll let you know exactly when it airs!)

Survey shows latest scale of lockdown birth partner and hospital visitor restrictions