In 2017, it’s normal for a father to be in the delivery room when his child is being born. It’s now become so commonplace that a man who refuses entry will be perceived as a failing father. When it's time to sit down and make a birth plan, most moms-to-be don't even question whether or not their partner will be in the delivery room when it's time for junior's arrival. I mean ... duh! Of course he's going to be there. Why wouldn't he?!? He's the kid's father and needs to be there to hold your hand and support you. He should also have the pleasure of witnessing the miracle of birth, right?
Leading obstetrician Michel Odent would vehemently disagree. He is a vocal advocate as to why fathers SHOULD NOT be present in the birthing room. According to Dr. Odent, not only is it unnecessary but it also hinders the birthing process. As he explains:
“For her, his presence is a hindrance, and a significant factor in why labours are longer, more painful and more likely to result in intervention than ever. As for the effect on a man - well, was I surprised to hear a friend of mine state that watching his wife giving birth had started a chain of events that led to the couple's divorce?”
Even the strongest of couples can succumb. What do you think it does to your intimate life: Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey has spoken publicly about not attending the birth of his four children claiming his life in the bedroom would be damaged by images like something out of a sci-fi movie. Regardless, many women still want their husbands to be present during the delivery. But as outrageous as it may seem, there is another side to this coin. So read on to know why daddy should not be present when you give birth.
15 He'll Want To "Share The Experience"
There are numerous physiological reasons why women have to endure long labors. The basic one being that a labouring woman needs to be protected against any stimulation of the thinking part of her brain - the neocortex - for labour to proceed with any degree of ease. This part of the brain needs to take a back seat and allow the primal "unthinking" part of the brain connected to basic vital functions to take over. As Dr. Odent states:
“A woman in labour needs to be in a private world where she doesn't have to think or talk”.
Yet, motivated by a desire to "share the experience", the man asks questions and offers words of reassurance and advice. In doing so, he denies his partner the quiet mind that she needs.
14 He Will Stress You Out (Literally)
The father’s release of the stress hormone adrenaline as he watches his partner labour causes her anxiety, and prevents her from relaxing. No matter how much he tries to smile and appear relaxed, he cannot help but feel anxious. And the release of adrenaline is contagious. It has been proven that it is physically impossible to be in a complete state of relaxation if there is an individual standing next to you who is tense and full of adrenaline.
The effect of this is that, with a man present, a woman cannot be as relaxed as she needs to be during labour, and hence the process becomes longer and more difficult. Why is it that many women who struggle to give birth with their partner at their side, miraculously give birth the moment their partners leave the room. Afterwards, they say it was just "bad luck" he wasn't there the moment their child was born. Luck, however, has little to do with it. The truth is that without him there, the woman is finally able to relax into labour in a way that speeds up delivery.
13 It Can Make Him Go Into A Depression
Dr. Odent has his doubts that men can easily cope with the strong emotional reaction they have when they participate in the birth. Over the years, he has seen something akin to post-natal depression in many men who have been present at the birth. In its mild form, men often take to their bed in the week following the birth, complaining of everything from a stomach ache or migraine to a 24-hour bug.
But it is well known by those who study depression that rather than admit a low mood, men often offer up a symptom as a reason to why they have taken to their bed. There are also men who try to find ways to escape the reality of what they have been through. This could just be a night at the pub, or a day playing golf when their child is a day old. From this perspective, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that new fathers react this way. These men often experience strong feelings of hopelessness, powerlessness and guilt for inflicting this on their wives. They feel they should have done more to help, but couldn’t.
12 It Will Kill Your Love Life
Yes. It can. Some guys are perfectly fine and are still all over their wives after watching them push out a baby. But then there are those who can never look at her vag quite the same ever again. It happens more often than you think. In fact, one man confesses that seeing his wife give birth put him off of sex for a WHOLE YEAR! And the longer you wait the bigger the chasm between the two of you.
A recent survey by parenting website Netmums revealed that three-quarters of couples make love less than they did before they had children. Almost half the mothers questioned said they felt the man in their life no longer found them attractive. And a third said their husband saw them only as a mum and no longer as a lover.
For one man it’s helping his partner express milk that did it. For another, it was the stitches. Others said they resented being relegated to second place. But what no one talks about is how witnessing childbirth — the most intimate experience in life — leaves a lasting impression on a man and can drive a wedge between himself and his wife.
11 He Will Stall The Placenta
Having men present during the labour isn’t the only problem. After birth, too, a woman needs a few moments alone with her baby, particularly between the time the child is born and she delivers the placenta. And this is not just about her need to bond with her baby. Physically, to deliver the placenta with ease, her levels of oxytocin - the hormone of love - need to be at their highest. This happens if she has a moment in which she can forget everything about the world, save for her baby, and if she has time in which she can look into the baby's eyes, make contact with its skin and take in its smell without any distractions.
Often, as soon as a baby is born, men cannot help but say something or try to touch the baby. Their interference at this key moment is more often than not the main cause for a difficult delivery of the placenta, too.
10 You Will Feel More Pain
Watching a baby coming into the world is arguably one of the most life-changing events in a man’s life. But new research suggests that some fathers should steer clear of the delivery room because they could make the pain of childbirth even worse. In this study, women’s pain was not reduced by the presence of their partners and in fact in many cases the pain was worse.
Many women want their significant other present while they go through this incredibly scary situation. They want the emotional support from the person who knows them best, while their body goes through a process that is nothing short of a miracle. There are many unknown factors (especially if this is your first time) and want the comfort and reassurance that their partner normally brings them. But ultimately, they are only causing themselves more hardships.
9 He Will Complicate The Labor
Medically speaking, labour becomes more difficult because the hormonal balance in the woman is disturbed by the environment that is not appropriate when the father-to-be is present. The birthing process should be the most natural thing in the world. Women have been doing this for ages, and certainly before there was any hospital. For Christ sake millions of women have unassisted births every year –our bodies were made to do this beautiful (albeit painful) thing.
Therefore why is it that births that are assisted by the fathers-to-be have a higher chance of needing medical intervention, such as forceps, vacuum extractor, and even emergency c-sections. These women end up having longer and more complicated labours. Therefore, do yourself a favor and leave daddy at home or outside in the waiting room, in the long run it’s better for both of you.
8 He Can Get PTSD
Experts say that it’s time for hospitals to pay more attention to the partners of women who experience difficult labours. Fathers are being left mentally scarred after watching their children delivered in traumatic or life-threatening circumstances. In one of the worst cases, a father was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Yet another had his first Schizophrenic episode just days after the delivery of his first child.
The men reporting being traumatized by the delivery of their child have a common tale of being left alone in hospital corridors with little clue of what was happening, while fearing for the lives of the mother and baby. Most admitted that they felt unable to talk about their feelings because they felt their main focus should be on looking after their partner and child.
As difficult as the birth can be for the woman, we should keep in mind the other perspective that our partners have. Seeing us suffering unimaginable pain, while there is nothing they can do, leaves our partners feeling helpless.
7 Evolution Says He Shouldn't
Perhaps deep down there is an evolutionary purpose for men not to be in the delivery room. They can't help but feel helpless at seeing their wives in so much pain (that they caused in some ways) and they just want to make it all better for them but they can’t. There’s a deep-down evolutionary agenda that wants to protect their partners and stop them from coming to any harm, and for some men it’s even deeply rooted in them.
Seeing their wives in this state makes men want to put on their armor and slay anything and everything that is causing you pain. They are ready to take on the big scary dragon for you, but in this case the dragon is in fact your much awaited bundle of joy…so there is NOTHING they can do except twiddle their thumbs.
6 They Cannot Unsee It
Let’s be honest here, most people (I would say nobody but the internet disagrees) do not want to watch other people defecate. Its one thing to see your significant other on the toilet (where you don’t actually see anything) but it’s quite another to see them defecate in their full glory, legs wide open, as their child comes screaming out of the other exit while the nursing staff encourages them to keep looking. And he might not think it's very cute.
Now combine this with the skin ripping apart, the blood, the amniotic fluid, the placenta and the vernix and you get a great cocktail of bodily fluids to remember for the rest of their lives. Oh and, by the way, you’re a dad now. Get used to the bodily fluids; the next ones will definitely end up on you somehow.
5 He Doesn't Have The Patience For It
This might surprise a lot of women but, to a man, the birthing process is mostly long and boring: They have nothing to do, it usually takes several hours and they are mostly just in the way during the whole thing so they do their best to be supportive and invested.
And they try, they really do, but after spending the first 12 hours just waiting for something to happen they realize this might take another 24 hours so they start pacing themselves. Their wife is high on meds and adrenaline but their adrenaline rush ended hours ago when they got her where she needed to be. This kind of emotional high takes its toll and caffeine isn’t going to cut it so, inevitably, they start to care for their own needs and, next thing you know, a nurse is bitching at them because they fell asleep in front of some machine they need to access.
The other option is to be invested, which somehow became archiving the whole ordeal (poop and all) in as many formats and media as they possibly can. I don’t know why, but for some reason live tweets and commentary might annoy everybody else in the room (eye roll).
4 He's More Fragile Than He Looks
Now, in the days following the birth, daddy is probably going to end up doing as much household chores as possible to try and give you a break. Unless you break his hand after hulking out that is. Seriously, this can really happen. You just wait until the pushing phase and see how hard you squeeze him. When a woman is having a really serious contraction she might like to squeeze down on something. The thing is, if that contraction is really strong she might squeeze really hard. She might try to match the force of her uterus which is in and of itself, squeezing really hard too.
Now you’re stuck recovering from a difficult birth while caring for someone you literally injured a few days ago (and we all know how men become babies when they’re injured). If you’re lucky, his break shouldn’t leave permanent damage but even if it didn’t you can bet this will not be the last time you hear about it.
3 Time Will Cease To Exist - But Not For Him
Many expectant parents believe that when the mom-to-be’s contractions start they need to rush over to the hospital (or birthing center) because the baby is coming soon. The truth is that it can take days for the first contraction to evolve into active labour. And even once everyone is installed at the hospital, there can be hours upon of hours of walking around, bouncing on a ball, labouring in the hot tubs, and just plain old waiting ahead of you.
Yes your partner is there to support you emotionally, and bring you ice chips and anything else your heart desires, but quite frankly a nurse, doula, or birthing coach can do all of those things for you. Eventually time will cease to exist and have no meaning, that’s when they will want to play on their phones or go for a walk outside and all this achieves is angering you because you feel left alone.
2 Because Men Are Weaker
Your husband is loving and caring and really wants to be there for you during this difficult time. But beware: you may reach out for his hand and find nothing; he's out cold on the floor, requiring medical attention himself. Ain't no shame in it. Some dudes just can't stand the sight of blood, let alone all the moaning and screaming. Labor is stressful enough without your husband dropping over and cracking his head open (and they say females are the weaker sex…pfff).
So to all pregnant women: if you have the slightest reservations about letting your partner into the delivery room, think about it twice. The medical staff has better things (like say attending to you and your unborn child) than picking up your husband from the cold floor. On second thought, maybe he should stay there, in case it happens again.
1 A Food Fight Can Happen
Did you know that once you’re in active labour you can no longer eat? It’s partially because contractions can actually make you throw up and, particularly, in case you need to have an emergency c-section, you require an empty stomach for the anesthesia. Now for you, the woman, it won’t be much of a problem, as food is the last thing you’ll want….until your husband comes back with a Big Mac and extra large fries from the double arches that smells like heaven.
Men…Now is not the time to rekindle your passion for double decker cheeseburgers or garlicy lunch meats. If your stomach hasn’t been completely turned by that scene from ‘Alien’ unfolding in front of you, and you insist on chowing down, then plain and simple is the way forward. Don’t go offering her a kebab mid contraction unless you fancy wearing it.
Sources: Dailymail.com, Telegraph.com, Netmoms.com, Babble.com.