PREGNANT women in the area can now have two birthing partners when they have their baby at hospital, health chiefs have announced.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has said women can now have one nominated birthing partner from admission until discharge and also a second nominated birthing partner (invited to attend by the first) during established labour, who may then visit for a one-hour pre-booked timeslot each day. The nominated birth partners will be allocated wristbands.

The trust ask visitors to follow national guidance and not to attend if they are unwell, have a new, continuous cough, temperature or a change in normal sense of smell or taste.

PPE will provided for visitors.

People are also advised to go home after their visit and to notify the ward if they develop symptoms or test positive for Covid-19.

The trust also encourages visitors to use lateral flow tests twice a week ahead of visiting to minimise the risk of infection in its hospitals.

Read more: See the babies born at hospital maternity units