Helping parents make confident choices

Birth doctor: "Keep dads out of labour room"

Leading obstetrician says fathers shouldn’t be at the birth – but that’s what he always says

One of the world’s top obstetricians, Michel Odent, has been back in the papers this weekend warning dads to stay out of the delivery room. He believes that a father’s presence can lengthen labour, make it more painful and more complicated because mums-to-be sense their partners’ anxieties. Michel claims this can increase the risk of caesareans, lead to marriage brake-up and even mental illness.

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This isn’t the first time he’s said this. Michel is a highly respected and experienced obstetrician, but one with a single-minded point of view – that dads should stay away from the birth. “Having been involved for more than 50 years in childbirths, the best environment I know for an easy birth is when there is nobody around the woman in labour apart from a silent, low-profile and experienced midwife – and no doctor and no husband, nobody else,” Michel told the Observer.

He blames the ‘masculinisation of the birth environment’ on the rise of caesareans in this country to 24%.

Mary Newburn of the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) has added to the debate by saying that some men feel under pressure to attend the birth of their child. “I wouldn’t go as far as Odent in saying that men are always unhelpful in labour,” she explained, “but it’s not men’s right to be there.”

Here at MFM, we think it’s important that you have who YOU want at the birth – whether that’s your partner, your mum, your best friend or perhaps your mother-in-law! And if you’re not sure how you feel, talk to your partner about how you’re feeling.

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