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men on postnatal wards at night

(114 Posts)
petunia Thu 16-Jan-20 08:31:26

The maternity unit hospital at the Endiburgh Royal Infiormary has run into difficulties over its policy to allow the partners of new delivered women to stay on the postnatal ward at night. Initially the policy was to give women more support in the early days with the baby. In reality the men are causing problems by ordering takeaways and sharing the newly delivered woman's bed. The sheer numbers of men choosing to stay overnight is creating problems of overcrowding in spaces not designed for extra people. Other women on the ward are embarrassed by having a male stranger present when breastfeeding and in other vulnerable situations.

I'm torn here. I do see the need for support from someone in those early hours. But I do hear, from ex colleagues,that some of those “supportive” men have disturbed the night with their use of mobile phones, talking loudly, watching women breastfeed and one case I heard, watching porn on his mobile.

How should this be managed? Some women need to stay in hospital after giving birth. Some women need support. But should this be at the expense of others?

TwiceAsNice Thu 16-Jan-20 08:37:05

I think it would be a good idea under strict rules. My DD1 had twins and a Caesarian . She was left to manage a lot of the time on her own and would have loved her husband to have stayed( or me or her sister for that matter) she just needed more help , she was in pain and breast feeding .

I don’t agree though that the dads should do as they like. They are there for their wife or partner. No takeaways, go out and get a meal and come back. Discreet phone calls and be conscious of other patients needs

GagaJo Thu 16-Jan-20 09:14:08

Yes, rules.

I was with my daughter in Spain when she gave birth. I stayed with her for 24 hours after the birth. There WAS an empty bed next to her. BUT the rule was strict. Family could stay, but NOT in a bed.

Have a set of rules. No takeaway. Fathers must eat out of the ward.

No phone calls on the ward.

If rules aren't followed, ask them to leave. Make that one of the rules.

Galaxy Thu 16-Jan-20 09:19:50

And those who have had a difficult birth and dont have partners? Staffing issues under no circumstances should be addressed by family members. Many women are uncomfortable with men being present when they are vulnerable, those women have a right to private space away from men. The anecdotal evidence from women on maternity wards where men are allowed is awful.

merlotgran Thu 16-Jan-20 09:22:26

The noise and intrusion would drive me mad.

petunia Thu 16-Jan-20 09:23:09

The problem seems to be in Edinburgh that rules exist but it is down to the staff on the ward to enforce it. If the person refuses or complains, management support the partner not the staff.

This seems to be a common problem. Midwives and support workers are placed in the position of gatekeeper. Well it clearly stops them sitting on their bottoms all night( that was a joke). Policing a handful of selfish partners takes time and if the staff know that management will side with the partner, I can see that a blind eye to all but the most disrespectful behaviour will happen.

timetogo2016 Thu 16-Jan-20 09:23:33

Privacy springs to mind.

Daisymae Thu 16-Jan-20 09:25:20

Absolutely not. There must be some entitlement to privacy. If there are strict rules then someone has to have the responsibility of enforcement. I think that the nurses have enough to do.

annep1 Thu 16-Jan-20 09:40:11

I find this utterly incredible. I think any support should be given by staff. If there's a shortage than that needs addressed but not by husbands staying.
Of course we would all like our mothers/husbands with us but its only a short time fgs. You will survive.
Sleeping together Who would do that!?
If I was in that ward I would be complaining loudly.

Calendargirl Thu 16-Jan-20 09:48:22

Reading this, I feel so pleased I gave birth in the 1970’s. DH missed both births, not his fault, when he came hot foot to see me and meet his new daughter, it was debatable whether Sister would let him in as it was outside the strict one hour visiting times. But she did allow him to pop in for a few minutes. We accepted this, it was the rules.
Take away meals, watching porn, loud mobile phone use, all sounds horrendous.

Gingergirl Thu 16-Jan-20 09:58:24

How times have changed. I gave birth in the early 80s and things weren’t great then-my husband was unwell with a bad cold when our second was born and after the delivery was told he couldn’t visit until better. It was only days later when I was distraught, that they let him come.Now, it seems they’ve gone the other way, and it’s equally as ridiculous...

Minshy Thu 16-Jan-20 10:02:56

Visitors to wards in general have become more rude. Ignoring staff and doing as they like. Managers do always Seem to go on the visitors side leaving staff perplexed and fed up

BlueSky Thu 16-Jan-20 10:08:35

When I had my first baby nearly 50 years ago it was strictly visiting hours only even in the post natal ward. Now they've gone the other way trying to be accommodating. They'll have plenty of time to be supportive when you get home which nowadays it's very quick even if you had a C section.

Phloembundle Thu 16-Jan-20 10:10:13

That's an absolute no no for me unless they are in a side room.

JaneJudge Thu 16-Jan-20 10:10:15

After staying on a children's ward with a sick child for a longish period of time, I'd go as far as to say there need to be stricter rules surrounding visiting and parents 'hours' too. I think it's fine for a parent to stay overnight but so many people lack boundaries as to what is and isn't acceptable. Open policies just don't seem to work

Chestnut Thu 16-Jan-20 10:12:16

New mothers have the right to privacy (from other men in particular) so strict rules should be applied to fathers visiting rights and other family members allowed during visiting hours only.
My goodness, back in the day Matron would have blown a fuse to see such behaviour. She would never have allowed it!

JaneJudge Thu 16-Jan-20 10:13:41

By boundaries, I just mean general ones. Lights out by 9/10 pm, no talking about sex with your mates after that time whilst your kid is ill and other parents are trying to sleep. Stop shouting at the staff all day. Stop disrupting other patients and then complaining if they want to watch TV themselves. I also agree no bloody takeaways too. Go and eat food in the food court or parents room out of the way. Stop making the rest of us even more miserable

wildswan16 Thu 16-Jan-20 10:13:42

The NHS has "supposedly" phased out mixed-sex wards. I fail to see how having men lying and sitting around a maternity ward all day and night is any different.

Obviously if there is a problem with either baby or mother this should be taken into consideration, but otherwise there should be set hours when women know they will have privacy.

The staff have a difficult task without having to shift people around every time they want to reach a bed or equipment.

jaylucy Thu 16-Jan-20 10:23:42

I would be horrified if I had just given birth after a long. exhausting labour to have some strangers husband or partner next to me, making loud phone calls (some people seem to think that we ll want to hear what they are talking about) or eating revolting smelling take aways, let alone climbing into bed with them . How the heck you fit 2 people in a hospital bed is beyond me!
You have just gone through what can be a traumatic experience, had complete strangers staring at parts of your body that only your nearest and dearest have seen and then that ?? no no no no!
Having said that, my ex husband was about as much use as a chocolate radiator during the birth and only turned up during visiting hours, leaving when the bell rung and was more bothered about going for a meal and a drink with one of his friends when I was suffering from the baby blues!

eazybee Thu 16-Jan-20 10:24:38

I would have hated it.
All I wanted after the birth was to try and sleep for a few hours.

Sussexborn Thu 16-Jan-20 10:26:54

Another case of the impossibility of pleasing all of the people all of the time! There need to be set visiting times that are adhered to but given attitudes of entitlement by some people, it would be hard to enforce without some bouncer type security guards.

lucywinter Thu 16-Jan-20 10:27:44

Dreadful idea completely in my opinion. The nursing staff should be giving support to new mums out of visiting hours. The fathers and family should be allowed in later, around 9 am.

pen50 Thu 16-Jan-20 10:29:11

Frankly I think it's abominable that in the 21st century we are still expected to stay in hospital in a room full of total strangers. Single rooms should be the norm, as they are in most civilised countries.

NannyG123 Thu 16-Jan-20 10:31:44

No,no no. But I can understand if it's exceptions cheer circumstances, and no food. No phone calls. And keeping voices down

Jaycee5 Thu 16-Jan-20 10:34:41

It is very difficult for staff to deal with people who behave badly in a hospital ward. When I was in hospital there was one woman whose entire family arrived with her. They were very loud and her husband was demanding that she be seen immediately and that she should not have to wait until Monday. The nurse informed them that only two people at a time were allowed and they became abusive and accused the nurses of racism even though the nurse who spoke to them was of the same ethnicity. They had to get security who had to threaten them with the police. They eventually left but not until making everyone on the ward feel worse. One of the group made an offensive comment to me as she left. I'm not sure why as I hadn't said anything but I think I made the mistake of looking at her (it was hard to avoid doing that).
To have a situation like that on a maternity ward would be very upsetting for everyone.
They should have a rule that someone may stay for a woman who has had a multiple birth or a procedure that might mean that they need additional care. Of course then people would argue that other people could have people there when they can't so there will always be rows.
It is all down to staff shortages and that does not seem the best way to resolve them but they are going to be with us for some time.