A HELENSBURGH mum-to-be is calling for a change in the latest Covid lockdown rules to allow new and expectant parents to form wider support bubbles.

Tighter restrictions came into force throughout the UK earlier this month in a bid to curb the recent rise in coronavirus cases, with travelling across council boundaries and indoor home visits banned unless for essential reasons.

Laura Hosie, who lives in Lever Road with husband Frank, is due to give birth to her first baby on January 23 and is concerned at the thought of not being able to meet her or her partner’s parents after the birth.

Coupled with the potential and well documented impact of postnatal depression, Laura, 31, said the current lockdown limits could cause further damage to her own mental health, and the wellbeing of grandparents.

READ MORE: What are the latest Covid lockdown restrictions?

She said: “Until recently I had believed the guidance was that households with a baby under 12 months were allowed to form an extended household with another, however, I can now see that this only applies to households in England.

“I would like to see this guidance change, or to be clarified, to allow new parents to form a bubble with grandparents. This would not only benefit new parents who critically need the support bubble around them but also ensure grandparents don’t miss out on their new grandchild’s first year.

“My husband’s parents live in Aberdeenshire and based on the new guidance they are not allowed to travel to meet their first grandchild when he or she arrives.

“The mental wellbeing of our parents is of concern to me as this is a time that they can never get back and may miss out on.

“They have already missed so much because of Covid, as many people have, and to see them miss this opportunity would be heartbreaking.”

READ MORE: Lockdown in the maternity unit - Helensburgh mums' praise for NHS staff

Laura has been working from home since last February as a project manager for a whisky company, and said she has friends who share her worry that isolation and loneliness could prove detrimental during the next few weeks and months, especially for new parents.

She said: “The greatest concern to me is not having access to any support bubble who we can lean on when times are challenging.

“Throughout my pregnancy things have been different with my husband not able to attend all appointments, antenatal classes being cancelled and midwife appointments shortened.

“We are in a fortunate position that both myself and my husband are able to work from home, however, we are both new parents so I still believe it is critical that there needs to be a wider support bubble available, especially with the concern around postnatal depression amongst new parents.”

Scottish Government guidance states that people can meet others indoors only for essential purposes, including to “provide emotional support for someone whose wellbeing is at risk”.

Helensburgh’s MSP Jackie Baillie, who was tagged in a Tweet by Laura to raise awareness of her concerns, said: “It is vital that new and expectant parents feel completely supported and protected – not just during the current pandemic but always.

“It is common knowledge that giving birth and becoming parents, especially for the first time, can have a big impact on a person’s mental health and with the usual support channels unavailable at the moment, it is more important than ever that the government has measures in place to tackle this.

“The Scottish Government must work with healthcare professionals to evaluate whether the current support bubble rules go far enough for new parents – and make swift changes to restrictions where it is safe and necessary to do so.”

Argyll and Bute MP Brendan O’Hara, who was also mentioned by Laura on Twitter, said: “We know these restrictions are so difficult and I completely sympathise with expectant parents and their wider families who want to give them as much support as possible, but given the high Covid infection rates, the best way to protect your loved ones is to stay home and reduce social contacts at this challenging time.

“The extended household system allows flexibility for those who live alone and there is already an exception in the regulations to allow for essential care for a vulnerable person, which might include supporting someone suffering from post-natal depression.”

The Scottish Government was contacted for comment.

Read all the latest local headlines here