There are several reasons why dads faint during delivery. The most typical reason is that the father has not eaten enough or consumed enough fluids. Also, some dads faint from the amount of blood present during the labor. Going to exposure therapy beforehand may help prevent fainting on the big day.
When it comes to the childbirth process and the day of delivery, the mother-to-be undoubtedly and rightfully receives the majority of the consideration. Expectant fathers aren’t renowned for being open about their feelings of worry throughout the delivery procedure. There is lurking anxiety among dads associated with fainting during labor, where many dads battle with the humiliation and shame that comes with this scenario.
When preparing for the new arrival, the house is equipped, the hospital route is mapped out clearly, and all of the necessities have been meticulously packed. But mentally preparing for what will happen in the delivery room is much more challenging. Read on to find out how dads can prepare for delivery and prevent fainting.
Related Reading: Expectant Father Anxiety – Helpful Advice for Men
Why Do Some Fathers Faint During A Delivery?
As there is no singular typical cause for a dad to pass out during delivery, we must understand the different contributing factors. One reasonable explanation for dads fainting during delivery is because they don’t eat enough or consume enough fluids themselves in the run-up to the labor. They may not eat because their wives aren’t eating, or they may forget as they become absorbed by everything around them.
Many dads become so concerned with being present in the moment that the basic self-care no longer seems to register. Breathing also needs to be taken into consideration, not only for the mother-to-be but also for the dad. Many times, the father encourages the mom to breathe, but forgets to breathe with her, causing a lack of oxygen which can result in the dad fainting.
Another cause for dads fainting could be “sympathy pregnancy,” also known as Couvade Syndrome. Sympathy pregnancy is when the father experiences similar symptoms during the pregnancy and labor as the mother.
Based on several pieces of research, empathetic male participants with expectant partners experience pregnancy symptoms as a means to cope with the psychological stress of becoming a father and being involved in the delivery. In the delivery room, some dads are unable to cope with the emotional and physical elements of the labor process, which can lead to sympathy pains.
A lack of adequate information about what to anticipate during labor may be overwhelming for fathers-to-be when the big day arrives. So, dads-to-be must be ready in every area possible. Men in general also very seldom acknowledge or say when they feel faint.
Fathers need to know their limits. Not all dads can tolerate the volume of blood that can be associated with the delivery, and very few will comfortably admit this. However, it is essential to know that this is a fairly common occurrence and not something to be ashamed of.
How Can Dads Avoid Fainting in the Delivery Room?
The majority of fathers faint because they do not drink or eat. By snacking as often as you generally would throughout labor, you will be much more engaged and efficient when your partner requires you the most. Pack snacks, drinks, and even meals in a cooler.
Join a class
Joining a birthing class can alleviate many of these typical fears dads might have.
During these classes, dads will learn about labor and delivery procedures, what to anticipate, and standard hospital practices and protocols. Fathers will also explore ideas and practices (such as optimal position, breathing techniques, comfort measures, and stress reduction) to assist them in supporting their partner throughout delivery.
You don’t have to rely on birthing classes for all the birth-related information, though. There are many ways of preparing yourself for what to expect on the big day. For instance, there are many books available that are specifically tailored for dads on what to expect during the birthing process.
Not only do these books give a ‘how-to-guide” for new dads, but they also help to relieve some of the common anxieties and fears dads might be experiencing on that day. The internet is also a valuable source of information. Unfortunately, as a result of the sheer volume of information, it is sometimes challenging to vet out the good information from the bad.
You can usually find the right information by visiting trusted websites. If you know a dad who has been in the delivery room, it might be helpful to ask about his experience. Dads who have experienced light-headedness or fainting in the delivery room can pinpoint their triggers, which can help you avoid those triggers as well.
Experienced dads also may be able to give helpful advice on how to prevent light-headedness or fainting in the delivery room. Additionally, there are many video-sharing sites where you can view videos of the birthing process, watch documentaries on it, and short educational videos.
Have an “Escape” Plan
If passing out is one of your key anxieties around the birth, talk to the prenatal educator about other delivery positions so that do not have to witness the birth firsthand. Some people become dizzy when they see blood. If you start feeling disoriented, sit down immediately – before you collapse. Take long, calm breaths in and out with your head between your legs. The disorientation will soon fade.
If you feel uneasy or dizzy from the birthing process, stand near the birthing mother’s head and concentrate on her face. This position will not only bring comfort to the mother but will also help prevent fainting in the delivery room.
Dads-to-be can also consider going for exposure therapy. Exposure therapy aims to gradually expose clients to situations that make them uneasy or fearful to help them address and overcome their anxieties.
Exposure therapy is classified into three types: in vivo, imaginal, and flooding. In vivo (“in life”) exposure therapy involves slowly subjecting a person to anxiety-provoking scenarios in realistic situations in order to desensitize them to these encounters.
Imaginal exposure therapy involves an individual engaging in a supervised visualization practice in which they envision themselves being confronted with anxiety triggers. Therefore, the individual may begin to understand what they might have to do to eliminate their anxieties.
Flooding is the third form of exposure therapy in which a person is directly exposed to the most stressful situation they can identify, as opposed to gradually intensifying it as with in vivo and imaginal exposure therapy.
Whether to be in the delivery room or not? This is the decision that many soon-to-be fathers are wrestling with as the big day approaches. It’s worth noting that if the dad finds it difficult to assist in the delivery process, there are various options available for both mom and dad. For example, you can hire a midwife or doula to assist with the labor while the dad recovers or if he is reluctant to be present.
Anxiety is often triggered by the unexpected, and many expectant fathers struggle with these emotions and concerns. Dads fainting during delivery is far more frequent than many fathers acknowledge, and the fear of being helpless throughout the process causes significant anxiety in many dads. However, many options and solutions exist to manage this worry that can help fathers overcome their anxieties.
If you feel like you’re about to faint, the critical thing to remember is to tell someone straight away. Take a seat and lay your head between your legs, maintain your composure, and remember to take deep breaths. It is also essential to stay hydrated and remember to eat. Alternatively, remove yourself from the environment that is causing you to feel faint.
After earning his Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto, Stuart gained experience working with families in community mental health settings and in the child protection sector. Since becoming a father himself, Stuart now works in private practice offering psychotherapy services. FatherResource is an opportunity for Stuart to share what he learns on his journey as a father with a larger audience.