A mum-to-be has hit out at Covid-19 maternity restrictions, claiming it would be better to give birth in a pub so she can be supported by her husband throughout her labour.
Meabh McGrotty, who is 34 weeks' pregnant, has launched an online petition calling for rules imposed during the pandemic to be lifted.
Describing the situation as "barbaric", the mother-of-two, from Castlewellan, Co Down, said the system was failing parents across Northern Ireland.
She has written to the Health Minister Robin Swann to implore him to review the rules, which mean that some women have no family or friends with them when they find out they have lost their baby.
While wet pubs are preparing to reopen, strict rules remain in place in maternity units across Northern Ireland.
These include birth partners only being allowed to accompany a woman to their booking and anomaly scan, during active labour and for a limited amount of time after the baby has been born.
"I don't believe the current rules are proportionate. I would like to see the scientific evidence that says my husband is less infectious once my cervix is four centimetres dilated," said Meabh.
"If I had my baby in the local pub, I'd be able to have my husband and four friends there and have dinner, which just highlights how ridiculous this is.
"I'm having regular growth scans because my first two children were small babies.
"My husband hasn't been to any of our scans because the 12 and 20-week scans happened during lockdown.
"That potentially means I could be by myself and be told there is something wrong with the baby, not forgetting that my husband is missing out and he has rights too as the father.
"I know of some women who have been on their own when they've been told their baby has no heartbeat.
"Then they've had to go back into hospital on their own and go through a D&C (a surgical procedure carried out after a miscarriage).
"It's deeply traumatic and it's barbaric. I really don't understand why we're treating women like this in this day and age."
Meabh also said she believed the rules viewed birth partners merely as visitors, which to her ignores the vital role they play in assisting women during one of the most traumatic experiences of their lives.
"We're denying families the chance to bond with their babies in the hours after they have been born," she added.
"What about women who are recovering from a traumatic birth and need help afterwards?
"The health service is run off its feet. It's a system that's under pressure and it's completely stretched to the limit. Birth partners play such an important role helping women after labour.
"They help them to the toilet, help to get them to get washed or change the baby, even something simple like lifting a bag off the floor.
"I feel like choices are being stripped away. When you do that, you disempower people and that affects their mental health.
"I believe there's going to be a perinatal mental health crisis in the next year or two because of what's happening."
A Department of Health spokeswoman said restrictions "will be kept under constant review and will not be left in place for any longer than necessary to control the spread of Covid-19".
To support the campaign, visit www.myuplift.ie