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Thread: "Why men should NEVER be at the birth of their child"

  1. #1

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    Default "Why men should NEVER be at the birth of their child"

    An interesting article- food for thought.
    Any thoughts? Opinions?

    A top obstetrician on why men should NEVER be at the birth of their child | the Daily Mail

    Permission has been granted to post this link!


    Last edited by KatieRabbit; April 16th, 2008 at 11:01 PM.

  2. #2

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    Well, well ... interesting read. What he says make sense. Don't know if it's right or wrong, but I can see his point of view and thinking of some men .. and women ... I get what he is saying.

  3. #3

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    Whilst i can see where he is coming from, i personally really disagree.
    There is no way my labour would have been shorter without him.
    It was especially the moments labouring at home that gave me the confidence to stay calm while in labour. DP gave me so much strength, so many words and so much of his time...
    He did not act scared, shocked, anxious or uncomfortable. He knew what to expect, and even when we encountered the unexpected he was still by my side one hundred percent of the time.
    Noone else could have given me that support... I know this as I had my mother & my grandmother present at the birth, and my mum tried, and she tried hard, but nothing could compare to the kind of connection that I had with DP during labour and the birth of DS.

    I especially disagreed with the following...
    Physically, in order to deliver the placenta with ease, her levels of oxytocin - the hormone of love - need to peak.

    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.
    As much as you forget 'everything' once baby is born, I think I would be distraught that DP was not there with me.

    The final question I would like to see answered is what, if a man is present at birth, will be the effect on the sexual attraction he feels towards his wife over the long term?
    Also this - I would have thought a lot of men would see their partners as the ultimate, having been through so much to bring his much adored children into the world?

    If I was to have been a single woman giving birth then of course I would not grieve for my partner's loss in missing out... someone else would be 'acceptable'... but why should he not be entitles to see the birth of his child if it is especially what he so chooses?

    ***too tired not making sense***

  4. #4

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    It's interesting that he's come to this conclusion after seeing so many births... I guess he's seen a lot to make him feel that way but he obviously needed to see my H during my labour! I wouldn't have wanted him anywhere else but right with me sharing the birth of our child.

  5. #5

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    I thought it was a great article, and I have thought similar to this for many years. DF and I had very lengthy conversations about whether he would be present and what role he would play in the birth. It was largely through these discussions and the research they inspried that I learnt a lot about the hormones etc of birth...and I think that had I not had a c/s I wonder if I would not have had him there present for the birth (save the fact that I didnt have anyone elseas a supprot person in Perth)


    Having said that, if DF reallywanted to be present I dont see hwy he shouldnt, if its a mutual decision.


    PS: poor guy that up and became schizophrenic though!!

  6. #6
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    I know i would have been lost without my DP there but then i didn't have any other support people available but DP has commented many times on how useless he felt and how hard it was watching me in "pain", but he also is so glad that he was there to welcome both children into the world
    Interesting article though and probably very valid in some cases.

  7. #7

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    I disagree with that article. Though it may be the case for some couples, it was not the case for me. i would not have been able to go through labour without my husband by many side. Whenever he left the room I got all panicky and when he came back to hold my hand, or wipe my face with a cool cloth, or rub my back, I could relax again. I too would have been distraught without him there. DS is as much his as mine and I think it was right that he should be there to see him enter the world and cut the cord. I can't even imagine him not being there for it.

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    I'm another who would have been inclined to immediately dismiss such a statement, until I saw that it came from such a well respected source. Purely from my own experience, I do not agree. My partner was capable, calming and the greatest form of support I could have had, if anything he helped me stay in the right frame of mind to deal with the birth, and our relationship is strengthened, not diminished by experiencing the birth of OUR son.

    As I ended up with an emergency c/s (due to an entirely physical reason - nothing that could even remotely be related to my choice of birth support), my partner was the first to hold our son. I am grateful that he was able to do this, as I was not, and he got to bond with his son in a way that was really valuable.

    Interestingly though, studies have been done on the effect of the attendance at birth on fathering, which demonstrate a greater involvement in all aspects of child-raising, fathers feeling a stronger bond between themselves and their child, as well as a lower incidence of child abuse. This has been linked in part to the release of birth hormones and pheromones but can also be anecdotally correlated with the increased direct involvement of fathers in child-raising in the generations since men have been attending births.

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    As much as my DH wanted to be at the last birth, I really wish he was not around. His way if dealing with things is with aggression. I am screaming for an epidural and rather than being supportive "come on you can do it" he just yelled "you don't bloody want an epidural!". All that did was make me tense up, make the pain worse and basically not help at all with me coping. I know he meant well and that is his way, but it was not what I needed at the point. I also spent too much time worrying about him due to the long labour. I did give him the option of opting out early on and I would have organised a doula, but he thought he could do it. It was hard on him to see everything go wrong and I think he needs to debrief to someone about it all. Whilst now we can laugh about all the yelling and swearing when he threatened to throw the sadistic little ob out of the window, it was not conducive to being able to birth.

    This time around he will be there, but I am arranging additional birth support mainly for me, but there will be benefit for him. He wont have to worry so much, and if need be go off and have a break if need be.

    I would like it to get to a stage where it is acceptable for a father to choose to not be at the birth and acceptable for a mother to refuse to have him there. It is really great that some of you have had wonderful births with supportive partners, but you need to respect and not dismiss that others would have been better off with their partners not there.

  10. #10

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    I love that this ob is standing up and voicing his opinions. to him for that.

    The release of the hormones is an intersting aspect - this has never crossed my mind. I know my DF will be talking to me constantly and i will just want to tell him to shut up! And he will be stressed, very very stressed, adn yes i can see how this will rub off on me.

    But, i would be so angry if he couldnt push that all aside for the birth of our child. Ha - i would want him to "be a man" at the moment that is most sacred to womanhood. What a paradox.

    Thankyou for this article, good food for thought!

  11. #11

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    I guess it depends on the couple. My DH was a rock and being able to hang onto him really made me feel calmer and more centered.
    As for being full of adreniline and stress, DH went to sleep during my first labour and campaigned to have a sleep in the second too - "since you won't be using the bed..."
    DH caught Yasin and passed him straight to me for cuddles and after we had marvelled for a while (actually DH marvelled, I was just glad he was out and I could relax) he helped me to attach him for his first feed.
    Second labour ended in c-section and I can't imagine doing it without DH - being in the theatre alone would have been awful.
    It certainly hasn't ruined our sex life.
    I only know of one couple not of my parent's generation where the husband didn't attend the births of his children and they're divorced now.
    Although it worked for us I do agree that it shouldn't be a rigid orthodoxy. If a couple doesn't feel comfortable with it then that's ok - there aren't rules.
    IMO the presence of extra female support people can help to negate any problems the man may have and help him to support his partner better.

  12. #12

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    I have very much respect for Micheal Odent and I tend to agree. It shouldn't be a given that partners are at the birth.

    I had a lot of trouble being distracted by my partner and my sister (no kids) at the birth of DS. I couldn't help but worry about how they were coping, if they were bored etc. (My DD who was 12 at the time was brilliant!).

    My dad was actually told to p!ss off by the Sister when I was being born - he was pacing and sweating and I was #5!

    I was not going to have Dp in when DD2 was born, but I ended up allowing it because we had a Doula and I totally trusted her to be able to see when either of us was becoming stressed with the situation. In which case we didn't because she gently guided him to be a good support. I felt let down by my partner initially with DS, but when I look back - who was I to expect him to understand??? He's a bloke!

    One of my requests for my last birth was that I was the one to call the sex, no one else. TBH - I found so many people craning to see - what is it? boy or girl? what his name? can I hold first? I DIDNT CARE A HOOT I just wanted to hold him close to me.
    With DD2, I must have held her for a good 15 minutes before I even bothered to look. So quiet, holding my bubs, smelling her sweet head -it felt like there was no one else in the room - so much better than the cacophany that seems to happen as soon as bubs is out.

    In a perfect birth for me, I would be surrounded by wise women, chatting quietly, laughing - no need for a man at the crowning (pun!) of my womanhood!


    ETA - however I do agree with Suse on the incidence of abuse lowering dramatically if a partner is present.....
    Last edited by Lulu; April 17th, 2008 at 09:08 AM. Reason: adding stuff

  13. #13

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    This has me pondering... is this OB planning on retraining and leaving the birthing industry as he's a man then? :P

  14. #14

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    Michel Odent is world renowned - he did the In the Womb books too.

    ETA - Michel Odent developed the maternity unit at Pithiviers Hospital in France in the 1960s and '70s. He is familiarly known as the obstetrician who introduced the concept of birthing pools and home-like birthing rooms. His approach has been featured in eminent medical journals, and in TV documentaries such as the BBC film Birth Reborn. After his hospital career he practiced home birth.
    Last edited by Lulu; April 17th, 2008 at 09:24 AM.

  15. #15

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    I tend to think that the increased requirement for intervention has more to do with birthing becoming more prevalent in hospitals than in the home. This being that the stress increase for the woman being in unfamiliar surroundings would be higher in a hospital environment which can stall the progression of labour.

    My DP was my hypnobirthing partner so it was his job to keep me focused through everything and without him there I definitely would have lost my focus and possibly panicked.

    As he says though, it is only "his observations" so the data is highly subjective and totally based on his own experience. Maybe the combination of him being there with the male partner was the determining factor, not the male partner alone. IMO there are too many variables to make this opinion hold any scientific weight from a research perspective.

  16. #16

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    IMO there are too many variables to make this opinion hold any scientific weight from a research perspective.
    *snap*

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Astrid View Post

    I would like it to get to a stage where it is acceptable for a father to choose to not be at the birth and acceptable for a mother to refuse to have him there. It is really great that some of you have had wonderful births with supportive partners, but you need to respect and not dismiss that others would have been better off with their partners not there.
    Excellent point Astrid!! Each of us are different and there is such a breadth of difference in the birthing experience, what works for one couple may not work for another.

    One thing that I did find interesting is Dr Odent's findings are very much consistent with his birthing methods which encourage internalisation techniques - it would be good to see a broader study done to see if the findings are replicated. He is spot on with his theories on the role of adrenaline in the birthing process, which does explain why some support people - male or female - are more conducive to the process than others (different people have different responses to stresses - some have an adrenaline response, others don't). And it's not to say that the men who have the adrenaline type responses are unsupportive per se, they are just not conducive to the birthing process.

  18. #18

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    My 2 cents:

    If my DP hadn't of been at the birth of Riley, I wouldn't of had the nerve to stand up for myself to deny their directed pushing, and also their threats to give me an episiotomy.

    If he hadn't of been at Elijah's birth, there would have been no-one there to help the midwife help hold me up after my hips and knees buckled from the force of Elijah decending (I stood up to pee and that was it). When she whipped my undies off (don't even remember it, she was that swift!) Elijah's head was bulging.
    If Andy hadn't of been there to hit that buzzer then dash over to help, Elijah really coulda been in some trouble, as I was pretty much stuck to the spot with my body bearing down uncontrollably.

    After the birth, it was really special sharing the first moments of our boys lives with him - I don't think it would have been the same without him there.
    I think it's important that men be encouraged to support their partners if they are willing to be there.

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