Coronavirus: Expectant mothers anxious over lockdown cuts to support people

Mothers due to give birth in lockdown have told Newshub they're afraid and anxious after strict new rules mean their partner or support person can't stay with them after birth.

But the Ministry of Health is now promising some leeway.

Life in lockdown can feel a bit bleak, so bringing new life into lockdown can be nervewracking.

"Everyone's in a heightened state of worry and anxiety anyway with what's happening," expectant mother Marie told Newshub.

"It doesn't help that you then have to add the fact that you're about to bring life into the world and you're super-worried about that life as well."

After serious complications with her first birth Marie has to have a cesarian section for her second, in a few weeks.

"It's major surgery, you're getting your abdominal cut open and so you can't really do anything for yourself in those first few hours," she says.

Marie says her partner could take a load off the nurses. But because of COVID-19, hospitals have strict visitor rules in place.

"As soon as I got off the phone with the nurse I burst into hysterical tears because I was in such a panic," Marie says.

Mothers can have one support person - but only for the birth, then they're out.

"If they're exposing themselves to the hospital anyway and any potential infection what's the difference between a few hours and 24 hours?" another expectant mother says.

The Prime Minister spent three nights in hospital when her daughter was born and knows the importance of support during that time.

"I absolutely recognise that, you can imagine it wasn't so long ago I was in that same position," Jacinda Ardern said at her press conference on Sunday.

"But I also recognise the need to keep mum and babies safe too and that's what hospitals are having to juggle in this incredibly difficult time."

And the country's top health boss said there will be some exceptions.

"There's not a single blanket policy," Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said.

It's for hospital staff to assess the risk of COVID-19 spread.

"Staff will apply their discretion but the first principle is that we do not want COVID-19 in our institutions and I think all New Zealanders would support that," Dr Bloomfield says.

The mothers Newshub spoke to understand and support that. They just need some support themselves.