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Pregnant women are asking COVID-19 Restrictions at all Melbourne public hospitals will be lowered to allow members to be present during ultrasounds and prenatal appointments.

As of today, Victoria has logged 47 days in a row with no local COVID-19 cases.

All general restrictions on hospital visitors were lifted under the direction of Victoria’s Health Director Brett Sutton three weeks ago.

Visitor policies, including ultrasounds, are now decided by the hospitals themselves.

While some public hospitals have begun allowing members to undergo ultrasounds, many still force pregnant women to attend alone, said birth trauma counselor and social worker Tamara Bluhm.

Tamara Bluhm, pictured with her daughter, was told that her husband could not attend her ultrasound next week.
Tamara Bluhm, pictured with her daughter, was told that her husband could not attend her ultrasound next week. (Supplied: Tamara Bluhm)

Ms. Bluhm, who is 32 weeks pregnant with her second child, said that the hospital she was attending had forbidden her husband to go for ultrasounds.

“They have very strict restrictions and my husband has not been allowed to attend any appointments,” she said.

“I am going to have another ultrasound next week, December 21, and they have told me very clearly that my husband will not come.”

Ms. Bluhm’s second pregnancy has been classified as high risk because she has a placenta previa, where the placenta covers the mother’s cervix.

After going through a traumatic first birth with her daughter, Ms. Bluhm said that she and her husband were naturally anxious this time.

Ms. Bluhm, who runs Bluhm Again Counseling, facilitates support groups for the Australasian Birth Trauma Association.
Ms. Bluhm, who runs Bluhm Again Counseling, facilitates support groups for the Australasian Birth Trauma Association. (Supplied: Tamara Bluhm)

“I had a very traumatic delivery where I actually bled two and a half liters of blood and now I’m in a situation where I could be in the same boat again.”

Ms. Bluhm said she was aware that many private hospitals and ultrasound clinics allowed members to attend ultrasounds, but the public hospital system still appeared to be out of step with the Department of Health and Human Services guidelines.

“I am very grateful for what healthcare professionals are doing to make sure that we are all safe … obviously we have to be very careful,” she said.

“But I think this is too much and it is time they began to ease the restrictions.

“I have friends who are nurses and they go to cafes and they have 30 people at home and they go to their local mall.

“I don’t see how my husband poses a greater risk to them just by going to a prenatal appointment.”

Ms. Bluhm said that among her own clients she had noticed an increase in the number of parents who felt overwhelmed and ill-prepared when their babies were born because they had not been able to attend any prenatal appointments.

Not allowing couples to do ultrasounds also sent the wrong message to expectant parents, he said.

“It is really sad that society tells parents, in large part, that if you are the second father, you are not as important as the mother,” he said.

“I do not understand why parents do not have the same rights regardless of their gender or if they are the biological parents.”

Among the hospitals contacted by nine.com.au, the Royal Women’s Hospital, Mercy Hospital for Women, Werribee Mercy Hospital, Box Hill Hospital and Angliss Hospital confirmed that the partners were currently unable to attend ultrasounds.

A spokesperson for the Royal Women’s Hospital said administrators were looking for ways to ease restrictions around ultrasound appointments and hoped to do so soon.

A spokesperson for Eastern Health, which runs Box Hill Hospital and Angliss Hospital, said: “As prenatal ultrasound is a very specialized area of ​​practice, and with a limited number of sonographers at Eastern Health, the clinical risk is considered too high to allow a third person in the room at the time of the ultrasound. If a sonographer were exposed to COVID-19, the resulting layoff of staff would have a severe impact on the available workforce in this profession. “

A spokesperson for Barwon Health University Hospital in Geelong said support people could join an ultrasound appointment when needed, but this was being evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Personal trainer Alicia Mortley is three months pregnant with her first child.
Personal trainer Alicia Mortley is three months pregnant with her first child. (Supplied: Alicia Mortley)

Future mom and personal trainer Alicia Mortley attended her three-month ultrasound on Monday only.

“It was a bit sad. I had a bit of a tear in my eye when I could hear the heartbeat and see the baby. I guess the tear was in my eye because my partner couldn’t be there to share that experience with me,” he said. .

“I think that’s what the couple is missing, that extra connection to the baby.

“We have our first appointment with the midwife on the phone on Monday, so it’s crazy to know that it’s still being done on the phone. We don’t even have that connection to our midwife.”

Ms Mortley said she was shocked when she received a text message from her hospital saying that her partner would not be allowed to attend her three-month ultrasound, as she had been allowed into a private clinic where she underwent her exam. seven weeks.

Now, she said she was concerned about whether her fiancé might attend her four-and-a-half-month scan where she would have a chance to find out the sex of her baby.

“He told me you should find out the sex of the baby if you can on that scan. But I don’t want to find out the sex of the baby unless he’s there.

“Obviously I want my partner to be there because it is a huge milestone to find out.”

Contact reporter Emily McPherson at [email protected]


www.9news.com.au

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