Fathers at Birth

There is a spectrum of thought on the topic of what a father’s role should be at birth, or if he should even be there at all. Throughout history, most cultures have either strictly forbidden men from being around women in labor, or at least have greatly discouraged it. Traditionally, birth attendants have been other females; although sometimes the woman’s husband was allowed to be at the birth.

Here are a collection of links that delve a little more deeply into the subject. Food for thought:


3 Responses

  1. I just have to say, I LOVED having my husband at both births.

    My first was an emergency c-section and we were both scared. He had to wait outside while they prepped me, he was allowed in the room for the section though. He came in bawling. I was screaming for him. I had some nurse by my head telling me all was ok and what was going on, but I needed the comfort and security of my husband.

    Neither of us wanted to relive a c-section again, and decided that I would try for a VBAC. We did have two doulas (one for ‘real’ and then a friend who was completing her certification) but it was my husbands’ encouraging words and strong hands that I loved during that labor and delivery! I loved having the VBAC experience of my doula and the fact that she KNEW what was going on, but to have my husband be there….aggh! Can’t wait for next time 🙂

    thanks for sharing this! I can’t wait to get my hands on some of those reads!

  2. Interesting topic! I had 3 births and 3 different “husband experiences” (same husband the whole time – ha-ha). My first time was a shock. I had prepared very well, but I guess I didn’t truly know what to expect. Back labor totally took me by surprise. Husband hadn’t slept for a couple days b/c of work. Labor was short and neither of us felt like we had a very active role in it — it all just happened “to” us.

    2nd: Husband was deployed to Iraq and #2 came 5 weeks early. I had a friend pre-arranged as my birth coach. This time, I found my “focus”. I had wonderful control. My coach was quietly active, very helpful and supportive. I loved it!

    3rd: Hubby was here. I was a little worried that I might not do as well with him there. But it was even better than #2. He did great. We were in synch. And he was completely amazed at how well I did and with how much control and focus I had. It was so neat to share it with him.

    I would absolutely want him there (and he would want to be there) for any other deliveries!

  3. My husband & I went to Bradley classes – clearly they emphasize the husband’s possible role! – and he provided incredible labor support for both of my unmedicated births. One of the biggest helps was all the prepwork – the relaxation/massage practice during my pregnancy, esp for the first birth. The second birth, he told me later that there were a bunch of extra nurses quietly hanging out by the door watching us “work” together because they were so impressed! I had no idea – I was totally zoned into Laborland. So, I think husbands can be amazing support – but they do need to want to be there.

    I think it also depends on the range of possible support the birthing mom has – if she has lots of female support, it may or may not be as crucial to her that the dad steps up. Or if there will be a doula. And where the birth takes place. Many dads may feel comfortable attending the birth as a dad, but not doing all the breathing/massage etc. I think it’s a spectrum, and what’s really important (like in deciding on a careprovider) is that everyone has realistic expectations of themelves & their partner and communicates well.

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