Should The Father-To-Be Be There At The Birth?

Not all that long ago, dads weren't expected -- or even welcome -- to attend the births of their children. Today, though, any guy who isn't jumping up and down about the idea of being in the delivery room is generally considered an insensitive Neanderthal. Author Armin Brott tells you about it.
Armin Brott

Mr Dad
Armin Brott
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  • See his book: The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips, and Advice for Dads-to-Be

  • If you're somewhat less than completely enthusiastic about being an active labor and delivery participant, don't beat yourself up too badly or allow yourself to feel like a failure. You're certainly not. Everything you're worried about -- and any other feelings you might have for not wanting to be there -- are absolutely normal. In fact, as many as half of all expectant fathers have at least some ambivalence about participating in pregnancy and childbirth. Clearly, being forced into a role that isn't comfortable for you will do you and your partner more harm than good. But there are a few things that might help you get over some of your concerns.

    The first thing is to spend some time talking with other people. Other dads you know may have been through something similar and may have some suggestions. Even if they don't, some living proof that you're not alone can be reassuring. Talk to your partner, too. She needs to know what you're feeling and why. But be particularly sensitive to the way you do this. She may misinterpret your apprehensiveness as a sign that you don't care about her or the baby.

    If you're not at the all-out panic stage, consider being there for the birth for no other reason than your partner's happiness. If you're still worried, think about getting someone to help you, too. Don't worry about how your child will turn out. Yes, plenty of evidence indicates that early parent-child bonding positively affects kids, but not being there for the actual birth -- whether it's because you didn't want to or because you simply couldn't -- will not cripple your children. You'll still be able to establish a strong relationship with them. Just make sure you get there right after the birth.

    Finally, hold your ground. If, after all this, you still don't feel truly comfortable participating, don't. But be prepared: Your family, friends and medical practitioner will probably suggest that you just quit pouting and do the right


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    Jes June 24, 2013
    Hospitals today certainly encourage fathers and family members to be in the delivery room, but like the article states it wasn't always that way. In 1978 Woonsocket Hospital in Rhode Island did not allow me, the father, in the delivery room to see my son being born. His mother and I had argued with staff about the matter, but they still wouldn't allow me in. I had to stand looking through closed doors via two small windows outside the Delivery Section while my son was being born in one of the side rooms. When a nurse finally came out of the room carrying my son in one arm she opened the doors and walked right past me. She did not stop even as I called to her in shock and was following her! I don't know why she didn't stop even to this day. Maybe it was her job to get the baby into the nursery as fast as she could? I really don't know... but that day sure gave me an emotional scar. I only got to see my son in the window of the nursery. I was 17 yrs old at the time, a junior in High School and my girlfriend was a senior. We hadn't been married (yet) and that's the reason the hospital wouldn't allow me to be in the delivery room. I was allowed at least to stay with my girlfriend in the labor room. We later married shortly after I turned 18 and we joined the Air Force. My father wouldn't allow me to marry sooner. To me it was no problem as we all loved and respected him.