A mother has been left heartbroken after her fiancé was barred from the birth of her daughter because he tested positive for COVID.
Emma Bartley gave birth to a baby girl at Wollongong Hospital over the weekend. Her partner watched via Facetime.
She said she was "lucky" her own mother was able to step in at the last minute but knows others who don't have anyone else to fill that support void.
Ms Bartley said hospital protocols were "disgusting" and left expectant mothers anvious.
"I know the system is under pressure, but it wasn't the best experience not having him here, and it's going to happen to lots of mums," she said.
"It's not right ... more needs to be done to support mums."
Visitors are not allowed in the NSW Illawarra region's hospitals at Wollongong or Shellharbour except for one partner/support person for a mother during labour and birth - and that's provided they test negative to a rapid antigen test before entering.
"Women due to have their baby are being asked to have additional support people on standby, should their initial partner/support people test positive," the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District website states.
"Only COVID negative support people will be permitted to enter the Birthing Unit. If the birthing woman is COVID positive, she can still have a COVID negative support person.
"However, that support person will then be deemed a close contact and subsequently need to commence a 7-day isolation period after leaving the birthing unit."
Women due to have their baby are being asked to have additional support people on standby, should their initial partner/support people test positive.- Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District
Ms Bartley said the timing of her latest pregnancy was "horrible", with her fiancé forced to miss out on so much due to pandemic protocols (even when testing negative) such as ultrasound scans and other medical appointments.
The Mercury contacted the Illawarra Shoalhaven and Western Sydney Local Health Districts plus NSW Health for further comment but they did not respond.
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