The fathers so shocked by being at the birth they get post traumatic stress... Try telling that to the mother who gave birth!
or any new mothers reading, here is a health warning: The following may raise your blood pressure.
Childbirth, it seems, can be as stressful and horrific for the father as it is for the mother – or so men say.
The claim may win little sympathy from those who not only have to do the giving birth bit but also put up with months of morning sickness, swollen ankles and worse.
But according to research, some fathers have been left so mentally scarred after watching their other halves experience difficult births that they have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
he condition – usually associated with troops who have returned from a war zone – affected one father so badly that he remains unable to work seven years after his wife almost died giving birth to a daughter who was then taken to intensive care.
Oxford University researchers interviewed men whose partners had procedures including emergency caesareans.
They told a common tale of being left alone in hospital corridors with little clue of what was happening, fearing for the lives of both mother and baby.
Experts now want hospitals to pay more attention to the effects on the father of a difficult birth.
Darren Dixon was left suicidal after having repeated flashbacks to when he saw his unconscious and bloody wife, Sarah, moments before she was taken to intensive care.
Mrs Dixon, 31, from Poole, Dorset, needed an emergency hysterectomy and suffered huge blood loss after having what the couple thought would be a routine caesarean.
Their daughter was not breathing, and although she was quickly revived she also needed specialist care in the neo-natal unit.
Mr Dixon said the ‘horrific’ experience left him so psychologically damaged that he was diagnosed with PTSD and has been unable to return to work as a stockroom manager.
For the first three years, my flashbacks were off the scale,’ he said.
‘Suddenly, I’d be able to smell the hospital and I’d be back in that theatre with my wife. I just cried from morning until night and I became agoraphobic. I still don’t work now and that was seven years ago.’
Mark Booth, 43, said he was left with flashbacks after looking through the theatre doors to see a placenta lying on the table when his 36-year-old wife Jo was taken for an emergency caesarean.
‘I didn’t know what it [the placenta] was,’ he said.
‘That was the most traumatic moment because I didn’t know if the baby was dead or alive.
'Then two nurses came out with an empty incubator, but didn’t speak to me.
'That’s the moment that keeps popping into my head.’
Mr Booth, from Stockton-on-Tees, said he was ‘just put in a corner’ while staff attended his wife.
His wife said medics saved both her and her baby when she lost a large amount of blood when the placenta detached, but she criticised the lack of ‘pastoral care’ following the birth.
Researcher Professor Marian Knight said: ‘Many of these emergencies involve severe bleeding. The mums are severely ill and need lots of care. But we need to think about dads as well.’