Do You Want Your Husband in the Delivery Room?

As early as two generations ago the husband was expected to stay out of the delivery room in nail-biting anticipation and show up with a bunch of flowers once the delivery is over. Now it’s almost his duty to be there and participate in the magic experience. Great deal of the change was down to childbirth classes, pregnancy books and TV shows encouraging husbands to take over new roles.

Do Men Really Need to Be in the Delivery Room?

According to The Royal College of Midwives in Britain, nine out of ten fathers attend the birth of their children. But there are no studies whatsoever looking into how many of those nine actually wanted the experience and how social expectations influenced their choices. As for all the popularity, there is another voice keeps growing louder every year saying dads in the delivery room are useless and indeed make a nuisance of themselves. In a poll conducted by the Royal College of Midwives, 88% of mothers said they’d have felt relieved if fathers’d stayed out. The same poll revealed the half of husbands couldn’t assure their role was of any importance. Pretty mixed, isn’t it? So why do we need the husband in the delivery room and what is his role there?

Support or Nervousness?

Most women would say he is there for support. Childbirth is a challenge. And who could support you better than a loving husband? He is there because he cares, he is strong and encouraging. For many, this feeling works better than painkillers. But this scenario applies best when the husband makes a gut decision to be there, unhesitating. On the other hand, many couldn’t predict their reaction to a dramatic scene of birth. Indeed, instead of upholding their woman’s courage, they might end up clutching to their own. Many doctors say a man in the delivery room is often a contributor to nervousness, passing his own fears on to a woman.

Delivery Room as Punishment for the Husband

Women name another reason why they want the husband as a witness. They want some justice. If he played an easy role at conception, it would be fair to have him face the music. And this seems to be the most controversial part. Many psychologists attribute this partially to revenge. Women want their husbands to share their sufferings. Is this as selfish motif as the husband’s reluctance to be there? And how to draw the line between the need to be comforted and the intent to hurt?

The Effect on Sexual Life

One more argument for getting the husband involved is that the experience bonds him to the child and wife. Many couples say they proceeded with happier marriage after they passed that test in the delivery room together. But there is a sensitive part to it, too. While the majority of husbands don’t mind being in the delivery room, they go like I’m really not into watching the “actual” process or cutting an umbilical cord. And they say that for reason. Witnessing the child coming out might change the man’s sexual perception of his woman. And at the worst scenario – for good. Complaints about sexual dysfunction related to childbirth experiences are reality, too.

Obviously, the issue is very sensitive and needs careful consideration before making any decision. There is no better advice than given by those who had the experience themselves. So maybe we can share with those who’s about to decide.

While many women now want their husbands in the delivery room, some opt for only a midwife. Those that are interested in pursing midwifery, may consider a Saint Peters online RN to BSN degree.

Latest Comments
  1. Adewale Adebambo

    this is not insinuation. it happens everywhere in the world and mostly africa particularly Nigeria. in most cases, the reason why the husband is asked to be in the labour while the wife is delivering, is because sometimes the woman may not be able to deliver successfully without seeing the man that impregnated her. Here in Nigeria we some times believe that it is a spiritual attack for the woman not to deliver at the right time or successfully, while seeing her husband will open the way. Some doctors may even ask the man to have emergency sexual intercorse with his heavilly pregnant wife before she would be able to deliver easily and successfully.

  2. Judith Leavitt

    For an account of how men moved from hospital waiting rooms into labor and delivery rooms in the United States, please see my new book, Make Room for Daddy: The Journey from Waiting Room to Birthing Room. Some men who thought they didn’t want to be there came to appreciate their role, others wished they hadn’t been there. Lots of good stories to think about. Thanks, Judith Walzer Leavitt


    Hello, Judith,

    thank you for telling us about your book. We hope, it will be helpful for those expecting parents who haven’t decided if they want the husband in the delivery room.

  4. L K

    I did not want my husband present, and had to fight everybody all the way to get my way. My husband was indifferent and said it was up to me, but I had to argue with the doctors and staff. The staff would automatically invite him in without even asking me. “oh, he can come too!” When I said he couldn’t I got interrogated. The doctor at first assumed I was a domestic violence victim and we went through THAT argument. When it was time for birth the staff kept insisting about husband’s rights, you’ll change your mind, the whole gamut of stupid arguments when I wasn’t in the mood to hear them. I just didn’t want him there for that. I wouldn’t have him come for a gyn exam before I was pregnant and feel the same way now. I am sick of women who feel childbirth is women’s business being belittled for it.

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