Pregnant women should be allowed to have one person alongside them during scans, appointments, labour and birth, under new NHS guidance sent to trusts in England.
The chosen person should be regarded as "an integral part of both the woman and baby's care" - not just a visitor.
Previously, individual hospitals could draw up their own rules on partners being present.
This meant many women were left to give birth alone.
The guidance says pregnant women "value the support from a partner, relative, friend or other person through pregnancy and childbirth, as it facilitates emotional wellbeing".
Women should therefore have access to support "at all times during their maternity journey".
And trusts should make it easy for this to happen, while keeping the risk of coronavirus transmission within NHS maternity services as low as possible.
Source: BBC News, 16 December 2020