By Sean Coughlan BBC News Magazine
As England cricketer Andrew Flintoff has found, a father's decision not to be at his child's birth raises eyebrows nowadays. But times have changed so much, midwives now worry about all a mother's friends and family turning up as well.
"There are people who seem to be treating births as a consumer experience," says Billie Hunter, Professor of Midwifery at the University of Wales, Swansea.
Rather than asking about whether the expectant dad should be at the birth, Professor Hunter is now more worried about the line-up of other relations and supportive friends wanting to be in the delivery room.
"The creeping number of people at births is a worrying trend. It should be very intimate - women need to be able to relax," she says.
"It almost seems that 'seeing a birth' has become one of those 101 things to do before you die. The reason for being there should be to support the woman - not to view the birth."Original article with pictures
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