Moms on Twitter Are Currently in a Big Debate Over This Common Post-Birth Ritual
So much planning goes into preparing for childbirth that it can be hard to ask questions or check off details for every single thing. You have to get the house ready, buy baby gear, handle mom’s birth plan, and more.
But how many people think to ask about the hospital visitation/stay policy? For many, that is something that doesn’t come to mind until the baby’s arrival. A recent Twitter discussion sparked by a UK journalist and mom has some wondering if hospital policies are leaving dads out after the birth.
Annie Ridout is not on board with hospitals that disallow partners from staying in the maternal ward post birth. The question was raised about how many hospitals do the same thing.
My local hospital doesn't allow partners to stay on postnatal ward after their baby has been born. I think this is outrageous – unfair on the mother; unfair on the father, who's being made to feel unimportant. He needs to bond too. Do other UK hospitals have this rule?
— Annie Ridout (@annieridout) April 29, 2019
Many women chimed with differing opinions, but it seems like an overwhelming majority of hospitals do not have policies that permit fathers to stay overnight following birth. Some commenters stated that they had to request special permission based on anxiety issues, c-section births, or health complications.
There were quite a few Twitter comments that were in favor of women-only maternity wards to give moms time to recover and rest without the presence of a man, especially if privacy was an issue in a shared room.
With both my babies I was in postnatal ward rooms with 6/7 other mums – if partners had been in overnight it would have been overcrowded, noisy, and completely lacking in privacy. What would be ideal is more midwife support through the night.
— Caroline H (@CarolineJHogg) April 29, 2019
I have to say I'm slightly bemused. Hospitals aren't hotels. It's one or two nights out of your life. A good dad will bond whatever, doing the first nappy change makes no difference. Why should other women have to deal with your partners being there? Completely OTT
— Debbie Friend (@SociallyIndie) April 29, 2019
Some felt that an overnight stay was unnecessary for a few days and that both parents should be okay with the father leaving when visiting hours are over.
On the other hand, other women were bummed when their partners were told to leave and felt alone. They cited physical pain, vulnerability, and the need for extra support. In some cases, these women were able to have their first or second child with the partner staying overnight, but not for the next birth.
I was hysterically crying when they sent my partner home and the midwifes told him they would check up on me. They only came in once at 6am to ask me what I wanted for breakfast🙄 had literally been up all night sobbing because of how terrifying it was without him there-
— ∇ Gee ∇ (@ThatSpanishThot) May 2, 2019
But this is not only affecting moms and dads in the UK. It is happening here in the States too with the only way the father can spend the night is if the mother has a private room. That setup depends on availability and whether or not insurance will cover it.
Additionally, a 2018 survey by Fathers Network of 1,800 new fathers found that only 17% of hospitals in the UK and 10% in Scotland had overnight stay policies in place. Most had to leave after visiting hours. More than half of these new dads said they felt invisible during the birthing process, which seems to contradict family-centric messaging promoted by health officials.
Where overcrowding and privacy can be an issue in maternity wards, how should hospitals handle it? Some people have proposed that there should be separate units for moms with partners and moms who don’t have one. For some mothers, it may be a matter of personal preference.
While some think that barring fathers from the post-birth moments seems archaic, others believe that it could be better for mom. What do you think?
Should fathers be allowed to stay overnight after the birth of their baby? Do you think overnights should only be for private rooms or shared? What are your thoughts on separate maternity (or paternity) wards?