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Men staying overnight on postnatal wards

(466 Posts)
quesadillas Fri 10-Jul-15 14:52:02


I'm getting myself really worked up about what seems to be an increasing trend for men to be able to stay overnight on postnatal wards. Last time I gave birth, men weren't allowed to stay. But I'm pretty sure that my hospital now allows it. This really bothers me. I found the postnatal ward absolute hell last time, begged to leave as early as possible , even though I knew I wasn't ready, and I ended up being re admitted. It was just a horrendous experience. This time I'm pregnant with twins, and the hospital have said that although I'd be a priority for a private room,there's absolutely no guarantee and there's probably more chance I'll be on the ward. I simply cannot imagine having visitors there 24 hours a day when I'm trying to get my head round having twins and feeding twins, and after a c-section. The woman in the neighbouring bed last time had her partner there at visiting hours and he was a nightmare. Loud, demanding of the staff (for him, not her) and thoroughly unpleasant sounding. I admit this may be affecting my views.

Did you have men on the ward 24 hours a day when you gave birth? How was it? Am I being ridiculous? And am I actually within my rights to refuse to spend a night in a room with members of the opposite sex, given that if I was having my tonsils out, it wouldn't be allowed?

Getting myself too worked up, need to get a grip!

ovaryhill Fri 10-Jul-15 16:39:27

Don't have any wise words sorry! This would really upset me too, you're in a vulnerable enough state as it is without strange men about
I know rationally it shouldn't bother me but it does and would be making an almighty fuss till I got moved

MythicalKings Fri 10-Jul-15 16:42:31

Awful. I'd have raised hell if that was allowed when I had my DCs.

FernGullysWoollyPully Fri 10-Jul-15 16:48:05

Its not allowed at our hospital. However, with my third dc, there was a women in the bed next to me who had her husband there as a translator. He was exactly like you've described, loud, rude, demanding. His wife expected to not do anything, wouldn't go and get her baby milk, wouldn't pick him up by herself.

With dc 4 I was in a side room.

I think you'd be perfectly within your rights to refuse. And I don't think you're being ridiculous at all.

luckiestgirlintheworld Fri 10-Jul-15 16:50:08

At my hospital you can pay £100 and get a private room. Is this an option for you?

DramaQueenofHighCs Fri 10-Jul-15 16:50:43

To be honest having men around wouldn't bother me in the slightest (but I don't tend to 'see' gender if that makes sense.)
However YANBU to complain if it makes you uncomfortable.

PunkrockerGirl Fri 10-Jul-15 16:53:45

Sorry no advice, it wasn't allowed when my dc were born. But yanbu, it's appalling that this seems to be becoming more acceptable. I would have created merry hell if this had happened to me.
Congratulations on your twins flowers

Lunastarfish Fri 10-Jul-15 16:55:32

There was a large thread on this issue a few weeks ago. My hospital has this policy plus visitors between 3-8. I'm 39 weeks and dreading being on a ward due to the visitor times/partners able to stay. I'm praying to get a private room (I'll have to pay)

On the plus side a few on the previous thread remarked that partners being able to stay was very helpful when they'd had C secs.

bikeandrun Fri 10-Jul-15 16:58:56

I definitely see gender when I am feeling vulnerable ie trying to establish breast feeding, most women don't master the not letting it all hang out method straight away. Childbirth is special female place and I wouldn't want strange men invited into that space overnight. My DH is lovely but he is still a stranger to the woman in the next bed.

Ilovecrapcrafts Fri 10-Jul-15 16:59:02

Can you pay for a private room?

Tbh, post natal wards are just hell. Other people are only one factor in what makes them hell.

I couldn't have survived in that ward without my DH. The midwives didn't help much and I couldn't move.
Other people's partners were ok. The main annoyance was the constant ping of whatsapp messages and click of I phone pictures being taken.

mojo17 Fri 10-Jul-15 17:09:11

Have you had a tour of the hospital
If not could raise it then and tell them not ask them that you would not be comfortable with men staying on the post natal wars
Perhaps all the like minded women could be on one ward and all the ones who wanted their other halves to stay on another
Put you are stressing about now I would let them know so something can be done

NotCitrus Fri 10-Jul-15 17:13:41

I see it more of a problem in that patients are expected to bring their own carers or get neglected (not criticising individual staff, just there aren't reliably enough of them).

I wouldn't mind attentive fathers, but I do mind shouty companions and get scared, whether male or female.

When I gave birth and would clearly need help, I ended up in a private room and my female friend stayed with me - friend started off polite but got more and more furious as neglect went on and she tried to track down staff to help. Next night they let MrNC stay with us - doubt anyone even saw him as I had the breastfeeding room to myself all night.

Second birth, I had no-one with me but the staff couldn't have been better - but with 4 other mothers, 6 babies, and at least two shouty grandmas, no-one got much sleep.

Whereas when ds was in hospital I ended up having to stay with him (we were told one of us had to - how does that work for single parents???) and there was a kid with both parents there, with parents watching loud unsuitable films until midnight and them effing off - until I scared them into turning it off.

So given that mixed sex wards still exist, parents are made to sleep in chairs with other-sex parents in the next cubicle, I think men should be allowed to stay when it's their baby and if they are helpful, but with the visitor code of conduct better enforced in all wards.

quesadillas Fri 10-Jul-15 17:22:48

I'll get a private room if there's one available because I'm having twins, and not have to pay, but I've been warned that given how long I might be in hospital, there's a very high chance I'll be mostly on the ward. Unless of course one or other of my babies are majorly unwell and in intensive care for any length of time, in which case I'll be top priority for a private room. But of course I don't want that. It's the same hospital I was in last time so I know the physical set-up of it.

I'm not someone who assumes that all men are idiots, or unpleasant or desperate to catch a glimpse of my body, but I just remember how vulnerable I felt last time trying to learn how to breastfeed, trying to move around with post-section pain etc and with it being two this time, I imagine those feelings of vulnerability will be worse. I don't need my husband there, and I don't want him there making others feel uncomfortable, even if it would be easier to have him there to change nappies and things like that.

Glad to know I'm not the only one against this idea. I'll bring it up with the midwife at the next appointment and stress how utterly crap the thought makes me feel. I don't give a damn who is staying with women in private rooms, but please, not on the other side of a thin curtain from me.

MissBattleaxe Fri 10-Jul-15 17:32:40

The only reason men should stay on a post natal ward overnight is if they have just given birth.

VenusRising Fri 10-Jul-15 17:47:42

I suffered through three days and nights on a pre natal ward with men sleeping and snoring loudly in air mattresses. Bad enough that we were all being monitored like a merry go round with the machines which they managed to bang against every piece of furniture as they went round the ward, but the men kept forgetting to turn their phones off, so the alarms were going off every hour of two night and day.

There were 10 women, all in various stages of labour and screaming their heads off and moaning during the day and night, along with thei panicking partners.

The hospital was refurbishing the labour rooms so you had to be 5 cm dilated to get into one. They did the internals as they went around, just pulling the curtains a bit before they shot their bony hands up your fanjo.

They were redoing the operating theatres as well, so there was a queue, and I had to run to try and get one whilst having contractions.
I didn't mind that, any thing to get out of the hell that was he pre labour ward.

After the birth there were 7 women and 7 babies rooming in and they
kicked the men out. However some visitors stayed for hours and hours and one poor post forceps teenager had at least 10 fucking loud visitors reeking of fags and booze every day while she was in. <evil eyes still to them>

I hated every minute of my hospital stays, and discharged myself after a horrific crash section birth, two days early just to get out.

I hated having man on the wards, and stinky loud visitors too.

Birth is a time to have something quite personal happen and you are in a very vunerable state. Having anyone around who you don't know is appealing, and especially strange men. I'm sure my labours completly stalled with the stress.

Try and insist to having a private room Op, and good luck with it. Book a physio and a lactation a consultant before you go in.

MissBattleaxe Fri 10-Jul-15 17:50:39

Why on earth should anyone have to book a private room at their own expense just to have privacy after giving birth? What has happened to the poor NHS? It's on its knees.

VenusRising Fri 10-Jul-15 17:50:51

Having someone you don't know around at this vulnerable time isn't ideal, and I'm sure my labours stalled with the stress.

VenusRising Fri 10-Jul-15 17:52:10

Missbattleaxe, the NHS isn't doing too badly. I'm not in the UK and a private room is 3,000€ yes, three thousand euros.

Lonz Fri 10-Jul-15 19:14:16

Any visitors overnight are annoying. I had a woman next to me with god knows how many other kids and her partner, I assume, running around her bed until late at night then one of the damn kids knocked my son's cotbed.

I didn't have anyone except my mum and two sisters that came in during visiting hours which were absolute crap anyway, I didn't even want to be in hospital and begged to go home all day. It's bad enough when you get woken up by a midwife early in the morning pulling the curtain open with no hesitation, kicking you out of bed and telling you to walk your aching, bleeding backside up the corridor to get a coffee. I could have been breastfeeding or anything, she doesn't know. So, no thanks, I would most definitely not want any man on the postnatal ward whether they work there or visiting (men in the midwifery unit creep me out- ugh!).

quesadillas Fri 10-Jul-15 19:52:24

I can't help thinking that the reasons for the increase in allowing overnight visitors is because of short or unsuitable staffing. Most of the staff I met last time were good, but there were a few who just had no interest whatsoever in helping with anything. It's not my husband's job to try and help me with breastfeeding, or reassure me when I ask stupid questions in the early hours of the morning. I'm just hoping and praying that the private room happens.

And don't get me started on the Bounty people.....

MissBattleaxe Fri 10-Jul-15 20:14:20

I totally agree quesadillas. There shouldn't be any need to use family or husbands as stand in carers whilst in a hospital.

VenusRising- the NHS is doing very badly indeed if people are so short of midwives that they need husbands/partners to stay all night because there are no staff.

Personally I think having people other than fellow patients on the ward at night is an infringement of privacy and right to recovery.

SofiaAmes Fri 10-Jul-15 20:20:04

I wish someone had been able to spend the night with me. I might have gotten some help, care, water, the first 24 hours after my 40 hrs of labor followed by an emergency cs. Instead, I got yelled at by the midwife for not having liquid soap to bathe my ds, ignored by the nurses because my emergency call button was broken, starved by the dinner staff because I had not ordered my breakfast at the appropriate time (whoops sorry, I was in theater having my belly sliced open at the right ordering time), told off by a midwife for not giving formula to my ds (who was happily bfing at the time) etc. etc. This was 14 years ago in central London. Clearly the NHS has not improved....

OstentatiousBreastfeeder Fri 10-Jul-15 20:29:42

I wish my DH had been able to stay with me. I was utterly terrified and alone.

RicStar Fri 10-Jul-15 20:35:01

I had ds at kings London last year where they have this policy. It was ok for me although I wasn't keen on the idea but I know that may have been chance. In my bay of 4 mum's only one dad (first baby) stayed & he was very focused on his partner who had an emcs. Tbh other visitors and lack of any midwife support due to busy-ness much more an issue. Hope you have an ok time even if it's not ideal try not to worry about it too much in advance.

AbbeyRoadCrossing Fri 10-Jul-15 20:36:45

I was initially pleased that DH could stay but after over a week on the ward I now hate this policy.
As we were in so long I sent DH home to get some sleep the first night and the midwives were horrible about it. I had an emcs and they were annoyed they had to pass me the baby etc.
Some of the men were rude and inconsiderate, with tablets being watched loudly, arguing with partners etc. The ward was a big London one, probably 30 beds in long corridors, so doubling the amount of people made it even more overcrowded.
I also felt vulnerable trying to bf and having my gown on and exposed after the section. I know no one is really looking but I felt exposed and uncomfortable, I'm not used to not being fully clothed in front of strange men.

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