A hospital came under fire today allowing a pregnant woman’s dog to watch her give birth.
Maternity staff were “appalled” the family pet – called Barney – was allowed into the delivery room as a calming presence.
It was also claimed there was no additional cleaning carried out after the two-hour birth at St Michael’s Hospital, Bristol.
The pregnant woman, who had no underlying medical conditions, asked for her beloved animal to help with the birth.
Barney – believed to be a labrador – stayed for the birth along with the woman’s partner and a midwife before the family left with their newborn child.
Hospital bosses informed all staff about the decision in advance, and said the unusual step was taken as Barney is a working “therapy dog” who regularly visits patients on wards.
But staff at the hospital were less than impressed with the decision.
A source said: “Nurses and doctors were appalled but someone at the hospital had given the woman permission so the dog stayed with her in the labour ward.
“This is the first time any of the hospital’s maternity staff can remember such a thing happening.
“They’re now worried that other women will be allowed to do the same because a precedent has been set.
“Like it or not, dogs are dirty animals – and hygiene is the main concern of staff.”
Sarah Windfeld, hospital head of midwifery, defended the decision to allow the animal in during the birth.
She said: “Barney is a certified Pets As Therapy dog and with his owner regularly attends to patients in hospital.
“His owner made the request to us for Barney to be present when she gave birth as a therapy dog, not as a pet.
“Having first sought the approval of our infection control experts, we agreed to Barney sitting nearby in the delivery room.”