Once deemed ‘unmanly’, the presence of men at their child’s birth is now understood to be essential. In the first episode of the documentary series ‘One Born Every Minute’ a couple of weeks ago, one father expressed the view that there was no point becoming a father if you weren’t going to be there to welcome your new baby into the world. Indeed, being present was equated with ‘being a man’. So what’s changed and why? Before the 1950s, the presence of men at childbirth was seen to be out of the question and to be avoided at all costs. But since the 1960s, the percentage of men taking an active role during labour and delivery has shot up – estimates suggest that by the 1990s, around 90 per cent of fathers were there.
This research examines the causes, nature and consequences of this change. Is this about shifts in relationships between men and women? Changes to fatherhood? Changes in childbirth, as the location of birth moved to the hospital? Hiding in the Pub to Cutting the Cord is a research project aiming to understand this dramatic transformation, and we’re building an interactive relationship with members of the public to help in this research. Check out the Learn More page for more information about the themes of the research and a short vodcast by the researcher. Keep checking our News and Events page for a range of exciting events coming soon – including a production at the Warwick Arts Centre. And if you’re a parent, please Get Involved – you can contribute directly about the research by filling in a short questionnaire.
Why not go and ask your dad whether he was at the birth when you were born?
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