Labour Journey

Dads at the birth

Liz Pearce

Parent Education and Operations Manager

Dads at the birth

Today’s fathers are really keen to be at the birth of their babies but often say that they ‘feel like a spare part’, and wonder how they will cope with seeing their partner in pain.

Gone are the days when the dad kissed his partner goodbye at the steps of the hospital or paced up and down the hospital corridor awaiting the sound of his crying baby or an announcement from the Doctor.

Thanks to the wonderful lobbying that Parents Centres New Zealand did many years ago, fathers are now ‘allowed’ to be at the birth of their baby and in fact play a vital role supporting their partner and participating in the birth of their baby.

For many men it can feel overwhelming and even daunting and this is perfectly normal. It is an understandable reaction when you see someone who you love experience pain, or challenging times, to want to step in and stop it or fix it. What is really important to offer is support, encouragement and love. Let the woman be the guide as to what she needs and how she feels; don’t think you need to step in quickly and suggest drugs or alternatives – she will know and she will tell you.

I often talk to men after their baby’s birth who says they wish they could have done more, they wish they could’ve taken away the pain, and they felt helpless. Upon talking to their partner, she shares how amazing he was – he stayed by my side, I felt his love, he offered words of encouragement, he hugged me. These things may seem minor to the man, but to the labouring woman, he is her her rock, her strength to succeed!

Dads, don’t underestimate the importance of your role in bringing into the world your brand new baby.

These top tips for dads come from our ‘Ask a Childbirth Educator’ series of questions from members.


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