Involving partners during pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period

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Abstract

Some years ago, I was regaled with the following story about the involvement of a partner at a birth. A midwife was working on a birthing suite when a man rushed in and said that there was a woman giving birth in the car park. The midwife grabbed the pack that was on standby for such a scenario and ran down at breakneck speed to find the woman in the back of an estate car in advanced second stage of labour. Her apparently hapless partner was standing by looking dazed and confused. The midwife decided that things were in too advanced a state to try to move the woman and to let nature take its course. She attempted to engage the partner, asking him to support the woman but he appeared reticent and was visibly edging away from the scene in spite of what she considered to be her well honed communication skills. The arrival of the baby coincided with the arrival of further staff with the woman's actual partner in tow. He was in fact, the man who had appeared on birthing suite to raise the alarm. The man on the scene, who had been encouraged to participate during the birth, had just happened to park his car next to the temporary birthing space. I guess that the moral of the tale is twofold, firstly beware of where you park your car in a hospital car park, and secondly, as a midwife, never make assumptions about the intended involvement of a partner at a birth.

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