Restrictions banning the partners of pregnant women have been reintroduced in a number of maternity hospitals as the number of Covid cases soar.
While the ban on partners of expectant mothers attending scans had been relaxed before Christmas, this has now been reimposed, along with other restrictions.
The HSE has also confirmed that mothers are now going home sooner after giving birth since Covid and the introduction of visitor restrictions in hospitals.
From today, Dublin's Rotunda Hospital will no longer allow partners to attend for the routine 20-week anatomy scan.
Due to the surge in community acquired COVID-19 infections & the move to Level 5 restrictions, the EMT have taken the very difficult decision to change our visiting policy. From Tues 5th January, partners will no longer be able to attend for the routine 20-22 week anatomy scan. pic.twitter.com/EgH4j5H7p8— The Rotunda Hospital (@RotundaHospital) January 4, 2021
The Coombe has also temporarily increased the restrictions in place, including limiting access to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to only the mother of the infant.
The hospital is also now only allowing mothers to attend scans to minimise the risk to patients and staff due to an increase in the number of women being admitted with Covid-19 over the last number of days.
Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) is still allowing fathers to attend the 20-week scan, however, a spokesperson last night said this is now under review.
It comes after a petition opposing restrictions in maternity hospitals gain over 52,000 signatures last month.
An online petition against restrictions in the Irish maternity services heard how women felt lonely, isolated and traumatised by their partner not being allowed to attend pregnancy scans and early labour.
Women also spoke about being alone on wards after having a C-section, with no partner there to support them.
A HSE spokesperson told thethat postnatal services maternity units, community and homebirth services have not changed since Covid, however, "the length of stay in our maternity units has reduced during Covid as women are seeking to get home sooner".