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Men in labour wards: To do or not to do

By Maureen Nakatudde

Added 6th October 2017 09:29 AM

To some men, it is a frightful experience and they never want to go back after the first time. To some women, they are better off without their men seeing the details of birthing.

Men in labour wards: To do or not to do

To some men, it is a frightful experience and they never want to go back after the first time. To some women, they are better off without their men seeing the details of birthing.

 

Traditionally, giving birth was viewed as an exclusively women's affair. Men were kept on the sidelines, not to hear a sound, let alone see what was happening when a woman brought forth a child.

In some cultures, it was taboo for the man to even come near the delivery place. Even when modern medicine was introduced in Uganda and more births took place in health centres, men were still shut out from this world of women.

However, over the years, men have been allowed to access the sacred chamber of labour and witness the experience.

To some men, it is a frightful experience and they never want to go back after the first time. To some women, they are better off without their men seeing the details of birthing.

Dr Patrick Mwesigwa of Kampala says a lot has changed lately and men are no longer stopped from going into the labour suite with their wives.

In case of Caesarean operations, men are given uniforms so that they offer emotional support to their wives every step of the way.

Despite that freedom, Mwesigwa cautions that men who intend to be in the labour ward should be counselled to avoid fear.

"When a man is counselled and prepared prior to going into the delivery room, he will not be afraid to watch his wife giving birth, especially for firsttimers," Mwesigwa says.

He encourages couples to be there for each other during such a time, saying it strengthens their relationship and helps them have a better family.

Steven Langa, a counsellor and executive director at Family Life Network, also notes that there are positive benefi ts in the marriage when the husband is there for his wife during the process.

He, however, notes that this remains a personal choice, although he recommends it. "At that time, a woman needs emotional support. Giving birth to a child drains her a lot and a husband's presence helps her to have a safe delivery. It also bonds the couple," Langa notes.

However, he is quick to add that men who want to be in the labour ward should be strong, noting that some doctors have said there are men who have collapsed at the sight of a woman giving birth.

Langa says even if one is not inside the labour suite, one can keep around the ward. "It is unfortunate that some men have gone to bars when their wives are in labour. A husband's presence is necessary especially in case of an emergency operation, where the husband's signature is needed. You, therefore, need a sober mind to be consulted on matters pertaining to your wife," Langa says.

 

 

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