There was a time when a man was not expected or even allowed to participate in the childbirth experience. Instead he paced the floor in the waiting room, cigars in his pockets, impatient for a nurse to bring news of his wife and newborn. Thankfully times have changed, and now not only are dads in the delivery room a common sight, but for many women, family and even close friends are there, too.
If a woman chooses a hospital birth, she will likely have several people attending the delivery, including an obstetrician or midwife, one or more labor nurse, a baby nurse, and potentially an anesthesiologist. She will usually have a coach—often the husband, but at times a mother, sister, close friend, or doula. Anyone beyond that is there to provide additional love and support. Witnessing the miracle of birth can be an amazing and joyous occasion, and being invited to share in that experience should be considered a privilege. For a mom-to-be, choosing who attends her labor and delivery is a very personal and important decision.
An Intimate Experience
Childbirth can be a wonderful time for couples as they share in the life-changing experience of becoming parents. For many women, birthing with emotional support and assistance from their husbands alone is ideal.
Candy and her husband, Mark, felt it important to have only the necessary medical staff join them for the births of their two children. "I think it is not only a special bonding time for both the mother and the father, but for the parents and the new baby as well," says Candy. "I loved the privacy of the whole thing. It was very close and personal. Just the way I think a baby should be brought into the world." Concerns about modesty in front of others and learning to nurse a new baby made the choice for a private birth easy as well. "It is hard enough [learning to nurse] without five people staring and offering their advice," says Candy.
A woman can get a sense from her husband as to whether he's confident in the role he'll play during labor and delivery. If he seems unsure or chooses not to attend the delivery for whatever reason, and she wants assured support yet not a lot of family or friends in the room, she may consider a doula.