Has your partner just given birth and you are not entitled to visitation? Whether you are the mother or father of the child, a maternity hospital cannot legally prohibit you from visiting at night or even during the day. But in reality there are always exceptions. The National and Trade Union of Midwives (UNSSF) sheds light on this important and too little visible topic in our society.
Nowadays, “visiting rights are rather managed by each structure in its internal regulations”, the team of midwives reveals to POSITIVR. This is why the differences between maternity women are so important, especially since the health crisis linked to Covid-19. Indeed, according to the UNSSF, this lack of co-parental welcome exacerbated by the health crisis†
“During the incarceration, we had moving testimonies. The union has also systematically spoken out – in consultation with the ministry to preserve the possibility of the presence of spouses during birth and immediate postpartum.”
In addition to placing all responsibility for the baby on the mother (who is already exhausted by the delivery), this phenomenon can also increase the risk of develop postpartum depression† “The lack of a trusted presence can destabilize some women and the presence of a husband is also a facilitating element for the attachment of both parents.”
So why do maternity wards refuse the presence of the second mom or dad? According to the UNSSF, the structures justify their “denial” by: lack of resources† “It is above all the desire to avoid coming and going during the night or an overload of the personl, but that’s not all: “When the rooms are small, it’s sometimes difficult to ‘fit’ a bed or the occasional armchair in them, so instead of husbands being ill-settled, we’d rather put them outside.”
An inconvenience, but not a generality
If negative testimonials are becoming increasingly rare, it is because parents inquire in advance about the possibility of sharing the first nights and that discharges are happening earlier and earlier, especially in maternity wards. But luckily this lack of welcome from the co-parents is not no generalityas the UNSSF team explains: “We think it is essential to leave this opportunity to young parents to approach the first hours/days together with their child.”
“It seems important that parents-to-be can be informed in advance about this subject, in order to possibly include it in their… pregnancy choice if possible, even to discuss it during pregnancy follow-up and include it in their birth plan.”
For your information, according to the Department of Research, Studies, Evaluation and Statistics (Dress), in metropolitan France, the number of maternity wards in 2019 was 461, compared to 1,369 in 1975. In obstetrics, the number of beds has practically halved in thirty years. Why this drop? Most of these structures are closed, while others have been restructured.
Fewer maternity wards, less resources and therefore less time to receive co-parents in good conditions… To make your choice easier, here is a map of the maternity wards that welcome co-parents at night (based on testimonials):