I’m a bit late to this one, but the government has announced plans to give women the legal right to choose where they give birth, and wants to overhaul maternity wards so that fathers can stay overnight rather than leaving their partner and child on their own after the birth. This sounds good, but the measures would be introduced ‘in the next parliament’, so are presumably dependent on Labour winning the election. The Guardian reckons this is a move to attract middle class voters, but quite why working class parents wouldn’t be interested in a home birth or having the father stay overnight I’m not sure – is the classist implication that working class dads won’t be around and working class mums are too stupid to want to make their own birth choices?
I’d be interested to know how Labour intend to fund changes to maternity wards and attract, train and support sufficient numbers of midwives to enable all the women who want to have home births to do so. And will the female partners of mothers or male partners who are not the child’s father be allowed to stay overnight to support the mother?
What do parents think of having fathers on the wards? I’m sure I personally would like to have my partner there, but perhaps some women might feel uncomfortable having male strangers sleeping nearby. I can’t imagine we’ll all be getting private rooms on the NHS!
Image by LaBellaVida, shared under a Creative Commons License.