It has long been debated whether or not dads or dads-to-be should be allowed in the delivery room. Some people believe that watching your partner give birth is the ultimate bonding experience, while others feel that dads simply get in the way. Ultimately it is up to you and your partner to agree on what you want. Should you decide to be present at the birth, as 90% of UK dads do, then you’ll want to ensure that it’s an enjoyable and relaxing experience for you and the mother-to-be.
How to Enjoy the Experience
Watching your child come into the world can be one of the most amazing and rewarding experiences you will ever have. Make sure you are properly prepared, however. Consider attending antenatal classes with your partner so that you will know how to support her appropriately during the labour. You could also watch birthing tapes to make you aware of the practicalities of labour. If you are at all squeamish, don’t be afraid to leave the room for a little bit of fresh air, most woman would rather be alone for some of the labour than have their husband fainting at the side of the bed.
It may also be a good idea to stay by your wife’s side rather than sitting at her feet awaiting your new arrival. Staying at her bedside will allow you to offer her all the support she needs and to allow the midwife to do what she needs to do. This way you can hold her hand, mop her brow and tell her what an amazing job she is doing, remind her how proud you are, she will be going through a lot of pain for both of you. The birth is likely to be an incredible and emotional bonding experience, and can also help you to bond with your baby more quickly than if you weren’t present.
What if I’m not There?
Don’t be afraid to admit that you’d rather not be at the birth. Some men find it far too stressful and turn into nervous wrecks in the delivery room. No woman wants to see that when she is trying to remain calm herself. Make sure this decision is discussed and agreed in advance so that your wife can choose another birthing partner if she so desires.
Similarly, try not to be offended if your partner decides she doesn’t want you to see the birth, this may be for many reasons. If it’s really important to you to be there perhaps come to an arrangement that you’ll be in the room at certain parts of the labour or that you’ll be allowed straight in to cut the umbilical cord. It is really important to discuss the labour arrangements with each other well in advance of the due date, at least then you will both know how the labour day is going to go.