A MOTHER has added her voice to a campaign pushing for hospitals to allow birth partners to be present during vital appointments.

Sasha Mills, 32, and her husband John, were thankfully together when they welcomed a son, Jack into the world on Saturday at Colchester General Hospital.

But the couple, who also have a three-year-old daughter, Eleanor, were told John would be unable to attend antenatal appointments and routine scans at 12 and 20 weeks due to Covid-19 restrictions over the summer.

Sasha, from West Bergholt, said: “Following a scan at the end of August I was referred to a consultant and had to wait for over three hours on my own where my phone battery ran outand I was unable to leave the waiting room to get anything to eat.

“Waiting on my own and having to see the consultant on my own had such a negative impact on my mental health causing so much worry and stress.”

Campaign group Pregnant Then Screwed is working to see maternity unit restrictions lifted so women do not go through appointments or labour without their birth partner.

A spokesman said: “Birth partners are so important, not just during labour but during appointments to provide that element of support.

“It is not a luxury, it is of real value for women both for emotional support and for care.

“NHS England, the Government and the chief midwife are all on board and are saying the same things as us.

“It is down to individual hospitals to lift restrictions.”

The group said East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Colchester Hospital, is not allowing partners to attend antenatal appointments or non-routine scans.

The trust said an adult from the same household could attend 12 and 20 week scans with a pregnant woman from July 6 when restrictions were eased.

A birthing partner can also now come to the hospital at the beginning of the induction of labour process and can stay with their partner until 8pm.

If she needs extra support, or is very likely to go into labour after that time, her birthing partner can stay with her.

Anna Shasha, Director of Midwifery at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Colchester Hospital, said: “Patients are currently able to have a partner or loved one with them for their 12 and 20 week scans, and for birth, at all our hospitals.

"The experience of our new parents is incredibly important to us and any decisions we make are for their safety and wellbeing.

“We have lots of measures in place to make sure the hospital is safe, and it’s important that people continue to access our care throughout their pregnancy.”