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BIRTH PARTNERS

YOUR PARTNER

Many women like to have their partner with them in labour.

'For me, it was as crucial to have Stephen there when the babies were born as it was to have him there when we got married!' Nicola, after her second baby's birth.

In many cultures, fathers are barred from the delivery room. It's only in places where men and women share their lives together intimately as partners that they can comfortably share the experience of childbirth. (See Becoming a Dad/Your role at the birth)

Most men would say that they needed to be there and some wouldn't want to miss the experience for the world.

'I thought I was quite useful to Penny,' said Ed. 'I felt maybe the service was better for my being there, and it's very exciting, very exhilarating...I would hate to be waiting outside.'

A Fathers' Survey published by the NCT in 2000 found that 96% of the men who answered the survey had been with their partners during childbirth and more than two thirds said that the birth was emotional, exciting and wonderful. However, the same proportion were frustrated that they were unable to help when their partner was in pain and a quarter said they had only felt fully informed about what was going on some of the time.

A lot of fathers want to support their partners and are keen to be involved in their baby's birth. But not all of them are, and if your partner feels uncomfortable about it, it's probably better for both of you if you choose someone else.

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