by: Tony Luck
Not so long ago a dad-to-be would pace up and down outside the labor room and would be admitted only after the birth. Modern practice is to assume the dad-to-be should be at the birth to offer support. But an increasing number of dads, moms and midwives would prefer he stayed outside.
Some of the reasons given are:
• Some moms feel the loss of dignity and 'not feeling attractive' is sufficient reason to banish their partners to the corridor.
• Some dads think the sight of baby being born will put them off sex with their partner in the future. Others can't bear to see their partner in pain.
Researchers at the University of Toronto suggest that women have a happier childbirth if they are supported by a trained woman rather than a stressed father-to-be. This woman could be your mother, a friend who's had a baby of her own or a doula (a professional female birth partner); her presence can have a calming effect on the mom-to-be.
Most men, however, do want to be present and, after all, the baby is half theirs. Get it right and the man's help can prove to be invaluable and many couples find it is an incredibly bonding experience.
Advice For Dads:
Go to the pre-natal classes and learn all you can about the birth, what the mom goes through, and how you can help.
Your only concern is your partner and the baby. You are there solely for them, and to help them in any way you can. It is difficult finding words of encouragement and it will feel as though your presence is not helping or appreciated - but it is.
You may see a side of your partner you've never seen before. She may shout at you, even swear at you. Take it, go with the flow, bite your tongue. If you were going through what she's going through you would probably be as bad if not worse! No, delete the 'probably'!
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