NEW mothers are leaving hospital as early as a day after giving birth to be reunited with their partners during Covid-19 restrictions.
Hospital staff say the new trend has emerged since protective measures were put in place allowing for birth partners to be present only at the time of a birth or cesarean section.
Sadbh Creed, who works as a midwife at Cork University Maternity Hospital, detailed the challenges being experienced by midwives since protective measures were introduced in March of this year.
"When partners are going home knowing they are not going to see their babies for a few days it can be very tough for them," she said.
"People have been very understanding and are motivated to keep themselves safe. It's lovely to have that time with your baby but it's also lovely to have someone to share it with. Most people are now going home early and only staying one or two days. This is not necessarily a bad thing and the hospital is by no means asking them to leave.
"Everyone who goes home early is healthy and confident in handling their baby. The only difference is they are more motivated to leave the hospital so they can get home and be with their partner. It seems to be a trend that's emerging but luckily the vast majority are healthy."
She spoke of how many parents miss the buzz of being around loved ones for the baby's homecoming.
"Bringing your baby home is normally such a huge event. Usually, they'll be grandparents and relatives all turning out to see the baby. For people not to have that to look forward to is hard. Others are quite enjoying themselves and making the most of their time alone with their baby."
One of Sadhbh's main objectives is to keep mothers calm and focused on the birthing process.
"You want the experience to be about them having their baby as opposed to all the things that are going on outside. We have always dealt with infection control issues but never had to wear the PPE to the extent that we do now. Staff are trying to offer support to people through the same health system.
"We are still short-staffed. That hasn't changed but now midwives are trying to meet all the person's needs and not just their medical needs. Spreading ourselves so thin has been very difficult. You are constantly trying to keep everyday business going while still keeping people safe."
Safety is always a priority for Sadbh even outside of working hours.
"Even a few weeks before level five we were very cautious about being around people. Nobody wanted to be the one bringing the virus into work. They equally don't want to be the person bringing it home."
Sadbh said the job said that despite the pandemic's challenges midwifery still has many rewarding moments.
"I'm sure this will be the first generation of babies who will be able to Facetime as there is so much of it on the ward," she laughed.
"Right now we are trying to make the best of things and there is still so much happiness. Sometimes, when I'm sitting down doing my paperwork I'll hear those lovely phonecalls and it always brings a smile to my face. These are always such lovely moments."