'It's a huge sense of relief' - Mum-to-be speaks about easing of maternity unit restrictions

A local mother to be who is due to give birth at MRH Mullingar in the coming weeks says that the news that the visiting restrictions for partners have been lifted is a "huge weight of my shoulders".

Earlier this week, first time mother Mary* spoke to the paper about her and her husband's devastation when they heard on Monday that the maternity unit at the hospital was not implementing the HSE's revised guidelines for support partners.

However, that devastation turned to joy earlier today when the hospital announced that it had reverted back to the pre-Covid maternity visiting arrangements for partners. From today nominated support partners can visit the ante-natal and post-natal ward from 10am to 1pm and from 5pm to 8pm. Nominated support partners can also attend scans and can also be present for the whole labour, birth or caesarean section.

Speaking to the Westmeath Examiner, Mary, who suffers from generalised anxiety disorder, said that she and her partner are “absolutely delighted” that the hospital has lifted the restrictions.

“It's a huge sense of relief to be honest. We both seen it and alerted each other straight away. It's a huge weight of our shoulders.

“It's already the unknown but I know now that I won't be facing it alone. It's great. I know that there will still be rest times from mums [from 1pm to 5pm], which is important, but it is great to see that the hospital had a turnaround.

“It's so positive. That excitement I felt came back today. It had gone a little bit. We were a bit uneasy but now you can allow yourself to have that bit of excitement again."

*Mary is not her real name