Childbirth Traumatizes Some Dads So Much They Can't Function: Here's How to Prepare Them Better

baby bumpAs moms, we know how stressful giving birth is, you know, because a tiny human being makes its way out of your body and all. For some of us, the process can be pretty traumatic -- even to the point where we can't help replaying scenes from the labor and delivery ward over and over again in our minds.

But after hearing that some dads experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after witnessing their wives delivering their babies, it's clear that some fathers are just as affected by the birthing process as we are -- if not even more so.


Researchers at Oxford University interviewed men whose partners had remarkably stressful or traumatic delivery experiences, and they found that their stories had similar themes.

In particular, those dads whose wives underwent emergency C-sections described being left alone in hospital hallways, having no clue what was going on, and being afraid for the lives of their babies and their partners.

One father who was interviewed became suicidal after having flashbacks of his wife when she was bloody and unconscious after having a hysterectomy during a routine C-section. His baby wasn't breathing upon birth, and even though she was revived, she wound up in the neo-natal unit. It's been seven years, and he still has not been able to go back to work.

And even though his case is extreme, I can definitely see how some dads wind up with PTSD after watching their wives give birth.

Heck, I'm a bit shocked my own husband wasn't diagnosed with it after an extremely stressful birth with our son. 

And another friend of mine's husband should've had it as well. He made the mistake of peeking over the curtain while she was having a C-section and saw the doctor standing there with her intestines in his hands. Talk about an unexpected surprise.

But seriously -- these poor guys! I guess you can never be 100 percent prepared for what will go down during birth, but based on this research, it sure sounds like there needs to be more support and resources for expectant fathers.

I mean, I know they hear a little bit about labor and delivery during the standard pre-birth classes at the hospital that everyone takes, but there has to be more information out there they can read up on so they're more prepared.

I took a look around, and as I expected, there are quite a few places dads-to-be can turn to that will help them get as ready as they can for the big day. is a website written from a dad's point of view, and offers advice for the entire pregnancy -- not just childbirth. offers advice for men on overcoming fears and assumptions while awaiting the birth of their children. The site also has an expectant father's survival guide.

Father's Forum Online -- This is a community that was started as a resource for expectant and new dads. (Guess someone already knew how important it is for dads to be prepared!) lists the seven best books for dads-to-be, for those who'd rather go the old fashioned route while reading up on what to expect when their little one arrives.

What resources has your husband turned to in order to prepare for birth?


Image via Photos by Lina/Flickr

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