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Dads in the Delivery Room

Here’s an antiquated notion up for debate—should dads be allowed in the delivery room?

We know. This kind of thing shouldn’t even be a question, but one French physician says that it should. Michel Odent, a big believer in homebirth and midwives, says that dads should be nearby, though not present, during the birth.

In an essay in the Daily Mail, Odent calls men a hindrance in the delivery room and say that a woman should not be distracted by her partner’s presence. While there has been no scientific study to prove that women do or don’t benefit from a male presence at delivery, the good doctor has drawn his own conclusions throughout a 50-year career.

Odent says that men’s anxiety in the delivery room will lead to a woman becoming anxious and therefore prevents her from relaxing during birth, which results in complications. His further claim is that in his experience, women struggle to deliver with a partner in the room, but the second he leaves the baby arrives. And lest you think he cares nothing for fathers, Odent says that he wants men to consider not being present at the birth of a child for their own health—he thinks men aren’t emotionally capable of handling birth.

All right, new dads—time to weigh in. Were you present at delivery? Do you agree or disagree with Dr. Odent? [Daily Mail]

Posted: 4/17/08