“I have had to mentally and physically prepare to deliver without my husband’s support,” says 36-year-old Lidia Inês Cardoso Ribeiro, adding that she has written to the Hospital Authority to urge them to reconsider.
“I believe all women should have the choice to have a person they trust to empower and support them through labor,” she explains.
Christina Kimont, a Canadian midwife and public health researcher, now in Macau, which operates similar restrictions, agrees the situation could be problematic.
“The human body cannot easily do what it is designed to do while in a state of stress,” she says.
She warned that adding extra anxiety to people already worrying about their baby contracting the virus or exhausted medical teams, could make labor “longer, more difficult and likely to end up in unplanned surgical procedures.”
Irma Syahrifat, a trained doula in Indonesia, says women there have had to attend appointments with physicians in full-suited hazard gear — an instantly distressing situation.
Currently, Indonesian hospitals allow one birth support person but, with rules constantly changing as cases spike, she insists “mental preparedness” for delivery without an advocate is a necessary addition to ante-natal classes.