The ban was announced two days after the NHS released new guidance saying that expectant mothers should be allowed to have someone with them at all stages of their pregnancy, including at scans, even during the pandemic.
A Health and Community Services spokesperson said: ‘The decision was not taken lightly. But safety is our priority and remains our focus. I appreciate that this will be disappointing for women and their partners and we understand the difficulty these new restrictions could have on families, especially those who might need extra emotional support during an antenatal scan.
‘It was taken based on advice from Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC), health and safety officers and the Royal College of Midwives, taking into account also the local context.
‘We need to protect all of our patients and we can only do this effectively by reducing the number of people who enter the Hospital to keep it a safe place for everyone. If we do not do this, there is a very real risk of the service being disrupted.’
The spokesperson promised that pregnant women could have their photos taken by staff and would be able to record the scan screen. ‘We know this doesn’t compare with having the company of a partner, but it is integral at this difficult time to protect our staff for the continuation of urgent hospital services.’
They added that partners or companions who did not have Covid-19 were still able to attend births.