Dad in the birthing room: risk for the couple?

Francesco Facchinetti confessed to being unconscious, Robbie Williams instead shot a video and posted it on Facebook, everyone, almost everyone, makes a selfie. The birth of a child, in short, is a highly shared event and the delivery room is a social scenario.

To introduce the phenomenon, the fathers who, in Italy, accompany their partner during labor and childbirth in 90 cases out of 100. Present mainly in the North, according to data from the Ministry of Health, less in the South, where only 4 out of 10 dads waiting, in Campania and Sardinia, enters the delivery room.

But mothers, am I happy? What do they expect from their partner? And is witnessing the birth of children a custom without (negative) consequences for the couple?

The brain of the situation

“Feeling at ease, safe, this is the most important thing for the mother,” explains Martina Carabetta, founder of Latte&Coccole, a center that deals with support for motherhood from birth onwards in Rome. “And in hospital it is probable that this will not happen, with consequent activation of the cerebral mechanism linked to the sense of danger. That’s why the presence of the partner, who knows us, knows how to interpret our looks, becomes a firm point, a support. A mother in labor must be able to ‘turn off’ the neocortex and bring out only the so-called ancient brain, the one necessary to proceed with the birth in a physiological way.

Are men prepared? “Yes, to deal with practical matters, yes, to live the delivery room less. For this reason, the courses should be in pairs: the father should be prepared, for example to interpret the screams of pain of his partner. Screaming with the mouth open means trying to facilitate vaginal opening, if you do not know, could, as happens to induce the partner to call the doctor, the anesthetist or simply not be able to tolerate what is happening.

So fans all

Not everyone’s up for it, though. “And not everyone has to participate in the birth,” continues Martina Carabetta. “The couple must talk about it, understand any resistance. Neither of them should feel obliged, because everyone is a fan. It is in this area, in the lack of communication between the partners with respect to common expectations that some problems could arise later on”.

Therefore, it is not the fact of seeing one’s own child born that causes, as many claim, the crisis of the couple – according to Sidip, the Italian Society of Prenatal Diagnosis and Maternal Fetal Medicine, the separations are greater between the parents who have chosen the shared birth and even Michel Odent, has questioned the validity of the paternal presence – but the silence, the thoughts not shared on the most important event of their lives. “Another aspect often not considered,” concludes Martina Carabetta, “is that fathers have to witness abuse of their woman’s body and this can cause trauma. In undisturbed contexts the intimacy of the woman is instead preserved”.