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Ban dads from the birth? Your thoughts please!

(89 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 20-Oct-09 15:48:44


Our lovely Carrie is going to be on BBC London News this evening, talking about whether dads should be present at the birth of their babies - or not.

It's really all about this story in the Observer at the weekend, in which childbirth specialist Michel Odent said he believes the mother-to-be's labour can be longer, more painful and more complicated if her partner is in the room.

We'd love to know what you think about all this.

Is labour easier without your other half hovering white-facedly nearby?

Or would the idea of giving birth without your partner's support be utterly hellish?

DuelingFANGo Tue 20-Oct-09 15:50:47

Like they would ever be able to ban it :D

It's not about whether they should be, it's surely about if they want to be or if the mum wants them to be.

ShowOfHands Tue 20-Oct-09 15:52:18

Oh it's like everything in childbirth, it's about free, rational and personal choice. No should about it.

2shoescreepingthroughblood Tue 20-Oct-09 15:55:05

what an awful thought, I can't imagine how I would have coped with out dh. both times something went wrong.
surely at the end of the day it should be up to the couple.

bronze Tue 20-Oct-09 15:55:27

My husband wasn't hovering whitefaced nearby he was stood next to me physically supporting me as well as being my absolute rock. I would have hate to have done it without him.
He also wanted to be there and his original plans of being at the head end only went out the window and curiosity got the better of him.
I don't think faster labours in my case would have been better, I think too fast can be very scary an stressful.
Oh and it hasn't had an impact on our sex life, we have 4 children!

Surely its a case by case thing.

AMumInScotland Tue 20-Oct-09 15:58:22

It's only a generation ago that women managed to get their DPs allowed to attend!

I don't think it should be a matter of banning them - if my DH hadn't been there, I would probably have had no-one apart from the medical staff with me, and I don't think that would have improved the experience for me.

But I think every couple should feel that they genuinely have the choice - for some, maybe they feel forced to have DP there, and/or DP feels he can't suggest he'd rather not, since it's gone so far now towards expecting them to be there.

WinkyWinkola Tue 20-Oct-09 15:59:01

Down to the individual entirely. I don't think anyone should be made to feel they must be there or have someone there.

I didn't mind my ds being at the births of my dcs. He's no trouble, he's just not any use either which isn't his fault really. He just reads his book, eats mars bars and says a few encouraging words every now and then. That's fine by me and he'd like to be there so cool.

If he were a panicker however, I'd really not want him around. As it is, he's a like solid, calm presence in the background.

Sometimes, I do think I'd like to do it all by myself, quietly and privately but I don't mind really if it's just DH and a mw.

WinkyWinkola Tue 20-Oct-09 15:59:33

I meant my DH not my ds! God, pregnancy-porridge-brain strikes again.

Itsjustafleshwound Tue 20-Oct-09 15:59:53

Husbands should have the choice and shouldn't be prescribed a role ....

I had a relatively easy time and if I was in difficulty, I would be comforted to know that my DH was there to fight my corner. I believe that professionals don't always know what is right.

Bucharest Tue 20-Oct-09 16:03:39

Mine can't even take dd for a jab.....go figure what kind of mess he'd have made in the delivery room.
I gave birth in Italy and in the hospital I was in there was never any question of him being present. They would have allowed the wicked witch MIL to be present though hmm
Down to the individual at the end of the day.

JulesJules Tue 20-Oct-09 16:05:21

Could not have done it without my DH - for a start, I was at times unable to understand anything anyone said to me and he had to 'translate' everything. He was the one person who I felt was there for me and on my side.

Much much more stressful was odd midwives, doctors etc just wandering in and out and talking to each other, muttering over the CTG traces, turning the monitor round so I couldn't see it (worrying) and completely ignoring me everytime I said I was going to throw up. Then sighing heavily when I did throw up.

OrmIrian Tue 20-Oct-09 16:12:22

I think it's not a question of 'should'. However my DH was largely about as much use as a chocolate teapot. I'd have done as well on my own - and I wouldn't have been bothered by how bored/upset/worried he was/ First time round I went in too early and the first stages were dull - we did the crossword together! But once things got interesting I hardly noticed he was there. Second and third times I was in control and I didn't need anyone TBH. I was centred on me and the baby. He was a distraction.

However I think he'd have missed out on the first special moments.

And I'd never have managed the first few weeks without him. That was when he was essential.

OrmIrian Tue 20-Oct-09 16:13:59

I think it's just as damaging to suggest that fathers 'should' be there. There is sometimes a whiff of burning martyr on MN (and elsewhere). If I'm suffering so much I want DH to witness it hmm

ByThePowerOfGreyskull Tue 20-Oct-09 16:14:10

I would not have been able to have my homebirths with my boys without my DH being there cheerign me on, telling me that each contraction was nearly over. He knows me, he knows what annoys me and what motivates me. He was brilliant.

my friend has had 4 homebirths wothout her husband in attendance - by mutual choice, he felt he couldn't be there and she didn't want him there because he would distract her from focussing on the job in hand.

it HAS to be up to the individual couples, no one else.

JaMmRocks Tue 20-Oct-09 16:14:11

Ban dads? I think that would be a rather heavy handed approach. Like everyone else so far on this thread I think it should be whatever is right for the couple involved. For my part, I needed DP there to keep me going. (Especially when I refused to push because I 'didn't want to do it anymore' grin)

PuppyMonkey Tue 20-Oct-09 16:14:52

My view was always: If I had to be there at the birth, then he can bleddy well be there too.

fluffles Tue 20-Oct-09 16:15:53

i read the article and i think that you can't compare the feeling of being in a modern hospital with 'traditional' births.

i might be ok with the idea of being alone in 'my' village with a traditional community midwife who was part of my community and i'd known all my life and had probably delivered me when i was a baby.

being alone in a modern hospital environment with midwifes i have never met before on shift patterns with hospital 'proceedures' and equipment.. that to me is bloody terrifying and keeping DH out of the room would just add to my terror, as far as i'm concerned in the presence of strangers he'll be the only person who really knows me.

castille Tue 20-Oct-09 16:19:27

What a dippy thing to say. Men aren't all fainters.

Mine's a doctor, loves gore. He wanted to deliver DS he was that keen! He didn't... but he's definitely not the fainting, labour-slowing, panicking sort. He was an entirely calm, rational, reassuring and encouraging presence all 3 times.

midnightexpress Tue 20-Oct-09 16:21:21

I think it should be completely up to the couple. Many men want to be there, and equally I think many men are probably quite traumatised by it.

If I was only allowed one person, I would rather have had a doula, if I'm honest, assuming that DP was happy to be 'pacing' instead. Especially at the birth of ds2, which I think could have been a much more positive experience for me, and might not have ended in an em-CS if I'd had someone who knew what was going on and who could have stood my corner for me a bit in the face of a pretty crappy registrar.

hannahsaunt Tue 20-Oct-09 16:24:15

Hmm. Labours of 2 hours, 3 hours and then 37 minutes probably testify to dh not lengthening them. I needed him to be there to be my advocate on the issues I felt strongly about but wasn't necessarily able to communicate coherently at the time. He's a doctor and was terribly calm and matter of fact which was absolutely fantastic. He also stepped into dr mode after birth 1 and I was having a large pph which needed immediate medical attention and the poor midwife was trying desperately to source an obstetrician when there were there three emergency sections going on. Quite ridiculous to suggest banning husbands.

choppychopster Tue 20-Oct-09 16:25:35

I think it should be up to the individuals involved.

For what it's worth, DH was extremely pissed off that when he took a 15 minute nap on a plastic chair 20 hours after we'd arrived at hospital and several hours before DD finally made an appearance, the MW wrote "partner asleep" on my notes. I was quite happily watching GMTV at this point (wonderful epidural). grin

Would have regretted DH not being there, as he was so calm and supportive - also nice to have someone to chat to through such a long labour!

PrettyCandles Tue 20-Oct-09 16:27:45

No way would I have wanted to be labouring without dh. Not only did he also want to be there, but there is nobody else I would have wanted to share the amazing first moments with our new child.

Dh was an absolute rock for me. OK, first time around he didn't know exactly what to do, but then neither did I!

If I could not have had dh with me, then I would have wanted my dad. I want the strong solidity of a man who I know will be entirely for me, only looking after me, not squeamish nor concerned with somebody else's protocol.

If I could not have had dh or my dad, then I would have chosen a doula.

Ultimately it must be the mum-to-be and the couple together who choose.

Tidey Tue 20-Oct-09 16:30:24

Before DS was born I went into a bit of a panic, thinking I didn't want him to see me screeching and generally being the wimp I am. Thankfully I put the thought out of my head, because I was not thinking at all clearly or rationally and when it came to decisions like topping up my epidural or having an entirely new one put in, he was able to actually get through to me when the staff couldn't because I was babbling away like a drugged up fool. When DD was born it wasn't an issue at all as he'd been so brilliant with DS's birth.

It's up to each couple, obviously, but you definitely need someone who you feel is 100% 'on your side', and who knows what you want. I found that my birth plan was wholly ignored, so having DP was great. Not something that ever could be banned, but should be discussed, as not all men would want to be present but may feel as though they are expected to be there.

ilovemydogandmrobama Tue 20-Oct-09 16:30:44

My grandfather was somewhere fighting a war and sent my grandmother a telex: 'Have you had the baby and what are you calling it?'

I quite like that idea (bar the fighting in a war) wink

Rindercella Tue 20-Oct-09 16:31:56

It's of course down to individual preferences - some women would prefer the father not to be there, just as some fathers would far prefer to be down the pub elsewhere.

I personally found it hugely hepful to have DH there and couldn't have wished for a better birth partner. Otherwise it'd just have been the midwife and me, and the midwife had other things to concentrate on other than my mad ramblings and need to virtually break an arm! I don't think DH would have had it any other way either, and I think I can say with some confidence that it hasn't put him off sex! grin

And I am sorry, but I am howling with laughter at the thought of Winky's DS at the birth being..."no trouble, he's just not any use either which isn't his fault really. He just reads his book, eats mars bars and says a few encouraging words every now and then.". Actually, I am laughing so blinking much I think DD thinks there is something wrong! grin

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