Wearing a face mask has become part of daily life during the pandemic. But there are some people who are exempt from the rules – and that includes women giving birth.
However, Rosie Brown is among those who were told they did have to wear a mask during labour.
The 39-year-old has a condition called emetophobia, a phobia of vomit. She says the smell of the mask was making her nauseous, which in turn made her “panic”.
“It was making me feel really sick,” says Rosie, who gave birth to her third child during the pandemic.
Research carried out by the charity Pregnant Then Screwed, shared exclusively with BBC News, suggests Rosie’s case wasn’t unique.
In its survey, of 936 women who gave birth in December 2020 in the UK, one in five said they were told to wear a mask.
But guidance from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), states women shouldn’t be asked to wear a facial covering during childbirth – including both natural and Caesarean births – because of the risk of harm.
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