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What do you think about spouses/partners staying overnight on postnatal wards?

(896 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 10-Jul-14 11:31:07


The organisation Birthrights (with whom we've done some stuff in the past) are planning a new campaign called First Night, and wanted to know whether it's something MN could support - so we said we'd ask you lot!

Here's Birthrights' description of the campaign:

'Birthrights is a human rights in childbirth charity, and we will be launching a campaign later this year to ensure women aren't left alone on often over-staffed postnatal wards, but instead can choose to have their partner remain with them overnight. We will be researching what's important to women, partners and staff, the barriers and benefits, and working with units who've implemented this policy to draw up best practice guidelines to use as they lobby for change.'

So please let us know what you think. Is this something you'd like us to swing behind?


Sirzy Thu 10-Jul-14 11:35:21

Unless some miracle happens and every woman gets their own room then no. Even then I would have reservations.

Postnatal wards are chaotic enough don't double the amount of people staying on them!

Also, for some women the time when their partner hasn't been there may be the only chance they get to talk about concerns - especially if it's an abusive relationship.

Most people are in for one night, plenty of time for fathers to bond when the family are home.

boulie Thu 10-Jul-14 11:37:16

Yes please, I was exhausted after labour and really would have valued the support of having my husband there to help me look after the baby. Especially as I ended up staying for 5 days, it was horribly isolating.

TeWiSavesTheDay Thu 10-Jul-14 11:37:27

I'm not sure I'm in favour tbh, although it would have been nice to have my DH with me overnight I wouldn't have felt comfortable with male strangers on the ward. I've been sexually assaulted and I can't sleep if there are unknown men around. I know I'm not the only woman who feels like this.

I'd also be concerned because we know that domestic violence often starts or gets worse when a woman gets pregnant or has a child. It would be harder to protect those women if their partners have a 'right' to be on the ward overnight.

So it's a no from me.

hazeyjane Thu 10-Jul-14 11:38:17

Personally I would say yes, i would like it to be an option, but that is based on an awful experience on the post natal ward after dd1, and having dh there would have been a huge help.

However I completely get the arguments against, and also I suppose in my case the ideal would be shitty post natal wards to be improved!

<absolutely no help whatsoever!!>

YokoUhOh Thu 10-Jul-14 11:38:30

Don't agree with this because of the possibility of undesirables who might be staying on these wards (chance of sexual assault etc). I would, however, like to co-sleep on the ward with any future baby I might have, without getting a bollocking from the nurses hmm

tobeabat Thu 10-Jul-14 11:38:35

Yes, this should be an option (with the caveat that all on shared wards should be required to keep the noise down -babies excepted!).

Onesleeptillwembley Thu 10-Jul-14 11:39:36

No. It's a very poorly thought out idea, for the reasons stated above.
Also, should it read 'over staffed' or should it be 'under staffed'?

NewNameForSpring Thu 10-Jul-14 11:40:07

No way. A woman is in such a vulnerable state having just given birth. Being in such close proximity to men you don't know can be quite scary.

Just because a man has become a dad doesn't mean he is to be trusted in such a special environment.

I think it would make women feel very unsafe frankly.

Mitzyme Thu 10-Jul-14 11:43:21

A definite no from me for the above reasons.

TerrariaMum Thu 10-Jul-14 11:44:58

What hazeyjane said.

But I was lucky, our hospital was trying it out and I personally couldn't have coped without DH. I didn't trust any of the postnatal staff because they didn't believe me about a few things I knew to be true so I felt almost totally unsafe there. If not for DH, I think I would have had a breakdown.

TalcumPowder Thu 10-Jul-14 11:45:00

It's a difficult one. When I was struggling to breastfeed my newborn - and wasn't allowed to keep my curtains closed because I was post-CS and the nurses wanted to keep an eye on me in case of bleeding/complications - I wanted to be able to have my breasts out without a male audience. However, I was moved to a private room (I couldn't breastfeed and was increasingly distressed, and my baby was crying a lot) and the three nights I spent there were the loneliest and most frightening of my life. I would have given anything for my partner to be able to stay. (The postnatal care and bf support were crap, but that's another rant). I had my own loo, so I don't see why he shouldn't gave been allowed to stay. There would have been no loss of privacy to any other woman.

Certainly for women who have to stay in hospital for more than a night, husbands/partners only being able to be there during certain daytime hours is a genuine loss for everyone involved, IMO. By the time I went home, I was already the 'expert' on our baby, which I don't think is a good thing.

PrincessOfChina Thu 10-Jul-14 11:45:00

I am in favour.

My local hospital allows fathers to be to stay overnight on the ante-natal ward if a woman is in labour so DH was allowed to stay two nights with me there while I was in labour.

I gave birth by EMCS after 4 days of labour (3 in hospital) at 5:50pm and was transferred from recovery to the post-natal ward at 9pm. DH was not even allowed to carry my bags on to the ward, but made to stay outside the door while the midwife carried things, helped me dress, dressed DD and arranged (out of my reach) my belongings. He wasn't allowed back for 15 hours and I've never been so scared or lonely in my life.

Piddlepuddle Thu 10-Jul-14 11:45:40

Well I'd have absolutely loved my DH to have stayed over. He's a really lovely man who would have respected other peoples privacy, realised the bathroom / shower wasn't for his priority, kept the TV down low, really looked after me and the new baby.

However sadly I'm too aware that not everyone is as fortunate. When I was in hospital there was one dad in particular who was horrible - the thought of him being allowed to stay in the same ward would have made the whole experience quite unsettling. So I totally agree with the poster above who said that unless it comes to the point where new mums all have their own room, then no.

CrispyFB Thu 10-Jul-14 11:45:50

No, unless in a private room, which people should be prepared to pay for. Whilst I'm sure the vast majority of partners are lovely, considerate people, that doesn't cover all of them. You only have to see how some of them behave during the day to extrapolate what they might be like at night.. not to mention the snoring as they presumably won't have a comfy bed to sleep on. Plus men tend to be louder - deeper voices etc - and with somebody else there to talk to, people are going to be making even more noise.

And for those on their second child or more with no other childcare other than their partner, they're going to be alone anyway. And frankly I would feel intimidated with all those men around me when I'm trying to establish breastfeeding all night (or even just looking at me when I'm sleeping) particularly as often we might have medical complications that require the curtains to be drawn back. Bad enough during the day.

Just.. no. There needs to be more funding for better HELP at night on the wards from medical professionals, not this.

Ollybob Thu 10-Jul-14 11:46:03

If you're in a loving relationship then of course it would be great but what about those that aren't ? If you are on your own after giving birth or simply don't have a partner who can be there then it's quite a vulnerable time after giving birth and quite scary to have unknown men wandering around the ward, not as if you can lock your door even if in a private room and shared wards would be far too noisy!.
I'm sure when you waddling off to the loo in the night looking and feeling crap, the fact that there's only midwives and other women in the same position that can see you makes it a lot better, not unknown men too :/

whatsagoodusername Thu 10-Jul-14 11:47:22

I really wanted DH with me after giving birth, especially as both births had not gone to plan and I was in hospital instead of the birthing centre when I was phobic about hospitals.

But it would not have worked in the ward I was in, with 6 women to a room. So yes, I'd want it to be an option, but the wards would probably have to be reworked entirely to make it practical. And I doubt that's going to happen any time soon.

tobeabat Thu 10-Jul-14 11:47:50

Reading others' posts is making me a bit unsure of my response already! It was based on my own experience and knowing my partner would be safe, but looking beyond that....

LemonSquares Thu 10-Jul-14 11:49:42

DH hated being sent away after less than two hours after birth with pfb. They insisted I stop in overnight.

I had an awful time on the ward - noise and staff were unpleasant - hated having to leave baby to go to loo as she screamed place down -Velcro baby- then get told off for that. I hated that it took hours to get paper work to leave next morning.

One time I did get to sleep - nurse came in pull back curtains shouted at me I didn't want pain relief - then oh wrong one and left curtains open.

I was bleeding sore and tired - while having my DH there would have helped me having everyone else’s DP wouldn't. Families visiting were inconsiderate during the day with noise - and trying to deal with bf in room full of strange men and sleep with ward more full of strange people wondering around would have been much worse.

lainiekazan Thu 10-Jul-14 11:51:41

Absolutely no way.

When I was in there was a poor woman opposite suffering badly after her caesarean. She had, amongst other things, an upset stomach. As it was she was crying at the thought of visiting time and a great hoard of people all eyeballing her in some distress.

I was in a ward with four women all with varying issues - from a few stitches to the woman above who was done for. We all bonded well with our ailments and were all able to laugh about piles and wotnot without having to try to appear fragrant and beatific. Also I would have felt really pissed if some pushy father of the year type was out-new daddying everyone else, doing the breastfeeding himself etc.

TalcumPowder Thu 10-Jul-14 11:53:17

Yoko, absolutely on being 'allowed' to have my baby with me (safely, obviously) in bed. It was about the only time (understandably) he was calm the entire time we were in hospital.

I think the whole issue of oartners staying overnight is bound up with poor postnatal care and bf support. I couldn't fault my antenatal care or my CS, but everything dropped off afterwards, and no one helped me when it became clear my baby was distressed and hungry and I had no milk. There was one midwife who pinched my breasts hard enough to leave bruises who I will hate till my last moments. The only kindness I had was from a ward maid, at the most vulnerable time of my life.

Me, my partner, and our baby bonding would have been lovely, but I needed him there because I was terrified and alone, with an abdomen full of stitches, and my body malfunctioning and an inconsolable new baby.

BittersweetSymphony Thu 10-Jul-14 11:54:22

I would have liked it as I ended up trying to look after a newborn with a drip in my one hand making it very painful to do nappies ect. They kept me in for almost a week.

Guineapig99 Thu 10-Jul-14 11:56:01

Would have loved my (female) DP to be able to stay with me but unless each woman gets a private room there's no way I would have wanted other DP's/dads on the ward after hours. Too intrusive. We had a father opposite us who was a complete pig and the idea of having him lurking around all night makes my skin crawl. How about they start a campaign for more general nursing staff on the wards instead to help out? My post-natal care was a joke, the midwives were run off their feet & not able to help with general care at all.

Castlelough Thu 10-Jul-14 11:57:30

I would be very uncomfortable with so many strange men sleeping in the same ward. I think it's completely impractical and places vulnerable women in an even more vulnerable position.

ChineseFireball Thu 10-Jul-14 11:58:12

While it would have been lovely to have my DH stay with me, I agree that there is no way on earth I would have wanted someone else's DP/H/W staying on the same ward. Same reasons as have already been given. If everyone had private rooms then it would be nice to have the option, but not in a shared ward. No way. Not ever.

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