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Northumbria Healthcare leads way on additional birthing partners

Wednesday, 16 June, 2021
Northumbria Healthcare leads way on additional birthing partners

Those giving birth in Northumberland can now have two people supporting them in hospital, as part of ongoing efforts to ensure the best experience for maternity patients.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is now allowing two birthing partners for pregnant people – the first trust in the region to do so.

Despite the ongoing need for additional infection control measures due to the Covid-19 pandemic, an additional visitor is possible due to the Trust’s state-of-the-art maternity facilities at its flagship hospital, the Northumbria in Cramlington (NSECH).

Jenna Wall, Northumbria Healthcare’s head of midwifery, pictured, said: “We know how important it is for those giving birth to have the right people around them to support them through this absolutely momentous occasion in their lives, so we are delighted to be leading the way in the North East and taking this next step.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have led from the front and balanced the risks of Covid-19 with the need to support pregnant people through their maternity journey, particularly during labour.

“We know that we are fortunate to have a facility like the birthing centre in NSECH, which meant that we never had to stop birth partners altogether, as was the case in other parts of the country.”

One nominated birthing partner can accompany the pregnant person from admission to discharge, while a second may attend during labour as well as visiting for a pre-booked hour each day.

This ability to have a second birthing partner has been welcomed by Leanne Holland, who is delighted to be able to have her partner and mum there when her second daughter, due August 4, arrives.

The 26-year-old, from Alnwick, said: “I think it’s great because they can support me and support each other.

“It’s a big weight off my shoulders having my mum there, because she was there for the birth last time and was worried about missing out.”

However, caution is still required for those attending hospital and there is a range of guidance in place to protect both patients and staff.

Birthing partners should bring as few belongings as possible with them and must not attend if they display any symptoms of coronavirus – a new, continuous cough, a high temperature above 37.8°C or a loss/change of sense of smell or taste.

You must wash your hands upon entering the hospital and wear a mask at all times, while visitors must wear any PPE (personal protective equipment) provided to them by staff.

Kathryn Lissaman, one of the midwives at NSECH, said: “This step is the latest in a considered and structured approach to allowing more people to attend as part of our ongoing commitment to supporting pregnant people and their loved ones, and is very much in line with national NHS guidance.

“But the safety of those giving birth, as well as our staff, is of primary importance, so birthing partners must follow the rules that are in place.

“As well as hand-washing, mask-wearing and staying away if showing signs of infection, we are also urging visitors to carry out lateral flow tests twice weekly ahead of attending.”

The full guidance for visiting can be found online alongside a full range of other maternity information at

Ben O’Connell, media and communications officer

Benjamin.O’ or 07833 046680.