“Nothing beats the feeling of being present at the time your child is born. Seeing my wife and our newborn daughter in her arms made me feel immensely proud and happy! I was so glad that I was able to support my wife throughout her pregnancy and labour” Vivek Shah’s words came gushing out when he went to thank their obstetrician.
Since the birth of his first child, Vivek has been sharing his experience with his friends and colleagues as they head towards fatherhood. Here are some things he often talks about:
- Normal Delivery is the Best
“Many of my friends’ wives had planned cesarean sections before they went into labour. But I learned that normal delivery has great benefits for both the mother and the baby. Our doctor emphasised that a cesarean delivery should not be chosen simply to avoid the experience of labour. She pointed out that cesareans increase risk of complications in future deliveries; and that if my wife had a normal delivery the first time, future deliveries would very likely be normal again. Without the pain of a cesarean section, my wife would also have an easier time breastfeeding the baby.
I was informed that babies born vaginally have a lower risk of respiratory distress, allergies, diabetes or obesity. Our baby would have a stronger immune system and would also receive protective bacteria as it passes through the birth canal during delivery.
Of course, our doctor also said that in case of complications, a cesarean may become the safest option, and that we should always prioritise safety first.”
- Be present at birth
“Bollywood films typically portray the father and other family members waiting anxiously outside the labour room for the news of delivery and I assumed the same in our case. So I was really surprised to learn about the role of husbands in supporting their wives during labour!
While my wife did the hard work of going through labour, I was glad that I could be by her side in the labour room. I helped by massaging her back but mostly by holding her hand and encouraging her.
It was great to share the moment of birth of our son along with my wife! I think it helped us become even closer as a couple.
I really thank our doctor who encouraged me to rethink my role as a father during birth. I now tell my friends that they should find a hospital that will encourage them to support their wives in the labour room.”
- Fathers need antenatal education too!
“When my wife’s labour pains began, I knew exactly what to do. And when her labour went on for longer than 8 hours, I knew that this wasn’t a reason to ask for a cesarean section.
I learned all this and more in the antenatal classes – particularly how to help my wife do the labour exercises – and how I could participate in taking care of the newborn in the first few days.
I think all couples should attend the antenatal classes together so that they know what to expect and think alike on how to take care of the newborn.”
“I don’t think I could have gone through labour without Vivek’s support” says Mansi, his wife. Both Vivek and Mansi often come to speak to expectant couples at their hospital, Sitaram Bhartia Institute in Delhi, to share their experience.
“I am so glad that I actively participated in the birth of my child. All expectant fathers should consider doing the same!”
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