MUMS-TO-BE have been left “blindsided” after being refused birth partners until they are in active labour, it has been claimed.

Women who gave birth over the festive period say NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) medics informed them they would not be allowed the support of a family member or friend until they reached the point of being 5cm dilated – which left some women alone for days over Christmas and New Year.

Both Scottish Government and NHSGGC guidance state one birth partner should be permitted throughout the entire labour or induction process even if there is a coronavirus outbreak on the labour ward.

Exceptions do apply, such as if a woman or their chosen birth partner tests positive for the virus.

However, a number of women who contacted the Glasgow Times following their “difficult” births at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and the Royal Alexandra Hospital did not have Covid-19.

The health board apologised if anyone felt their birth experience was negative but insisted all decisions made were to mitigate the spread of the virus.

One woman, who asked not to be named, was admitted on December 23 after concerns were raised about her unborn child’s growth at a routine maternity appointment.

The first-time mum had been continuously checking for updates to guidance via the health board’s website, which states “one birth partner can accompany you, throughout induction, labour and birth, except during a general anaesthetic”.

However, when she spoke with staff prior to her induction, she was informed her fiance could not attend until she had reached the 5cm mark.

She said: “It took me two days to get to that point and I was completely alone.

“The staff were great but it’s not the same.

“I was nervous already, being a first timer and not knowing what I was in for, but to hear that the baby isn’t developing properly and then to be left without any family was quite traumatic for me.

“I wasn’t given any explanation and I honestly just thought the rules must’ve changed suddenly – as they have done before – but we both kept looking and looking and nothing was ever announced.”

The new mum delivered her son on Christmas Day with her partner at her side, however, she went on to spend even longer in hospital alone as the little one underwent treatment for some breathing issues.

The pair were eventually released on December 30 but she fears the trauma of her experience has caused her so much stress she’s been unable to breastfeed.

A spokesperson for NHSGGC said: “We understand that support from birthing partners has a positive impact on a woman’s experience and we are sorry to hear that some patients were left unhappy with their experience while giving birth over the festive period.

“Our dedicated and hard-working staff are operating strict infection control procedures to help slow the spread of Covid-19 and prioritise the safety of patients and their families at all times.

“Any decision taken to limit birthing partners would have been with the wellbeing of all patients in mind. We would like to encourage anyone who feels their experience conflicted with information they had previously been given to speak with us, we would be more than happy to answer any questions they may have.

“As of January 5, the difficult decision has been made to move to essential visiting only across NHSGGC sites, to help slow the transmissions of the Omicron variant and keep us all safe. A flexible visiting approach and within ante-natal and post-natal visiting continues but only the birthing partner will be allowed.

“We would strongly advise anyone who can attend hospitals as an essential visitor or as a birthing partner only to do so following a negative Lateral Flow Test and to not attend should they have tested positive for Covid-19 or if they are displaying symptoms.”