In birth, the role of the mother’s life partner has changed dramatically in the last half-century. Fifty years ago, few fathers attended births; today, 98% of fathers living with their partners attend the birth of their children.

Research from The Fatherhood Institute shows that the quality support provided by a father at the birth of his child is clearly beneficial:

  • Studies found that women whose husbands/partners were present and supportive during labor were less distressed.
  • Laboring women benefit when they feel ‘in control’ of the birth process, and a key component in this is experiencing support from their partner during the birth.
  • Support during delivery provided by a ‘close support person’ (who can be, and often is, the baby’s father) creates a more positive childbirth experience for the mother, with a shorter duration of delivery and less pain experienced.
  • When labor partners (including fathers) know a lot about pain control, women have shorter labors and are less likely to have epidurals.
  • This support has also been found to be conducive to a more positive attitude by the mother towards motherhood.

 

At Rosemary Birthing Home, we embrace birth as a sacred family event. We respect the role of intimate partnership and have witnessed time and again its benefits for mothers and babies. Fathers and partners are encouraged to attend prenatal visits and childbirth education classes. Fathers and partners are guided through the birth process and cord cutting, and often become so involved that they choose to catch their own babies.

Here in Sarasota, there are several groups that meet with the intent of empowering new fathers. The Nurturing Dads Initiative, sponsored by Children First, is for new dads, expectant dads, step-dads, granddads, married dads and single dads wishing to be the best dads they can be. To date over 1200 men from Sarasota, Charlotte and Manatee counties have graduated from the program. Boot Camp for New Dads, offered at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, is “a great opportunity for expectant dads to obtain the insights of veteran dads on the challenges of becoming a father.” The workshop is taught by fathers and utilizes a man-to-man approach to fatherhood. This innovative, national program is being funded locally by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

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