A survey by baby-brand Pampers has exposed how British dads felt at the birth of their first-born child.
More than half of dads said they wanted to provide support to their other half – but 47 percent weren’t at all prepared for their role in the delivery suite.
Only one in 10 dads felt they were being ‘useful’ while their partner was in labour.
The rest described feeling like a ‘spare part’, ‘useless’, ‘nervous’ and ‘overwhelmed’.
Unfortunately, 48 per cent of men felt they were constantly doing things wrong during the labour, such as stroking their partner’s back when they didn’t want to be touched.
As such, some dads admit to passing the time by having a turn on the gas and air, taking selfies, and doodling pictures.
But expectant fathers can relax, as one of the nation’s top midwives has come up with a guide advising birthing partners what to do in the delivery unit to support Pampers’ #ThankYouMidwife campaign, which has started up again this International Day of the Midwife.
Senior Midwifery Practitioner, Michelle Comrie, who compiled the list after Pampers polled 1,388 mums and 612 dads, said: “I sympathise with well-meaning dads at such a stressful time in their lives where they have little control.
‘’Some of the most amusing things I have seen dads do include being fast asleep on the reclining chair during the course of their partners’ labour, passing out where they are so nervous and occasionally I have seen a few turn green.
"I have also come back into a room to see a dad dressed up in an apron and gloves, having taken a selfie of himself and his wife to post on social media.”
The study also revealed 21 per cent of dads couldn’t help but make inappropriate jokes, while one fifth played with medical equipment or unintentionally ‘got in the midwife’s way’.
Going on social media and watching box sets are other ways men kept themselves – and their partners – entertained during the labour.
Despite this, 34 per cent of men admitted that at some points, they had a little cry.
Researchers also found one third of mums-to-be were worried about their other half while they were in labour – with concerns around how he was coping, whether he was bored, and wanting him to be included.
A spokeswoman for Pampers, who carried out the study in conjunction with its #ThankYouMidwife campaign, added: “To be clear, I don’t think there is a mum out there who doesn’t want the support of their partner.
"But when it comes to the birthing suite it is understandable that some partners might feel out of their depth.
"Midwives are on hand primarily to offer crucial support to the women in labour, but are also there to help guide their partners through the process, as they understand bringing a child into the world is important to all parties involved.
"And they do their best to ensure everyone is included and looked after during the whole experience.
"But labour can be a long and arduous task, so it’s not unusual to see couples entertaining themselves in the funniest of ways – from telling jokes to blowing up rubber gloves.”
The Pampers spokeswoman added: “There is a tendency for people to forget what an important role dad makes to the entire parenting process – particularly during labour, so we hope these ‘dos and don’ts’ will help guide them through the process and ensure they provide valuable support for their partners.”
This International Day of the Midwife Pampers is asking the nation to say #ThankYouMidwife.
For every thank you shared Pampers will donate £1 to the Benevolent Fund of the Royal College of Midwives to support midwives in need.
One #ThankYouMidwife post = £1 donation.
Or you can purchase one of the specially created Thank You Midwife cards on moonpig.com for your own midwife and £1 from the sale of every purchase will be donated to the RCM.
TOP TIPS FOR BIRTHING PARTNERS – ACCORDING TO MICHELLE COMRIE, SENIOR MIDWIFERY PRACTITIONER
- Put your partner’s needs first and be sensitive to what they want. One woman may need their partner to have a laugh whilst for another this could be frustrating. I think the dad should be guided by their partner and their midwife!
- Try to be supportive, even if you are feeling tired; your partner is probably feeling a million times worse!
- Give praise and offer love and reassurance in the form of words, offering drinks, a cool flannel, a fan or massage (if your partner needs or wants to be touched)
- Do anything that you can do and your partner asks for
- Look after yourself as well; take time out for fresh air if you feel emotional or light headed. I always encourage expectant dads to eat and drink and to have a snack bag
- Bring something for those moments when your partner may be asleep and there is nothing you can do except to be there. My recommendation would be to bring a book, newspaper, crossword, music or an iPad
- And don’t order a takeaway to be delivered to the hospital if your partner can’t or isn’t able to eat!
TOP 20 THINGS MEN DO IN THE BIRTHING SUITE
2. Ask doctors and nurses what different medical items were
3. Fall asleep
4. Sneak out for some food
5. Go on social media
6. Ask for a turn on the gas and air
7. Get in a doctor's/ midwife's way
8. Ask a stupid question to medical staff
9. Take a photo of your partner during the labour
10. Play with a piece of medical equipment
11. Make an inappropriate joke
12. Take a selfie
13. Say 'that looks easy' to your partner
14. Plugged your headphones in
15. Blew up rubber gloves
16. Watched a box set
17. Doodled a picture
18. Give doctors and nurses advice
19. Complained about being bored
20. Celebrate a goal in a football match
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