FATHERS-to-be should not be present at the birth because they make labour longer, more painful and more stressful for the mother, according to a medical expert.
Childbirth specialist Michael Odent says men can cause the mother to need a caesarean because she becomes distracted by his presence.
And watching his wife give birth can ultimately lead to divorce.
Even male doctors can be unhelpful, he says, adding that the best way to ensure a quick and simple birth is to keep the mother focused on labour.
Mr Odent, an obstetrician, says only midwives should be present at the birth.
He will tell the Royal College of Midwives conference next month: “The ideal birth environment involved no men in general.
“Having been involved for more than 50 years in childbirths, the best environment is when there is nobody around the woman apart from an experienced midwife – and no doctors and no husband.”
Since the 1950s more men have attended births and caesareans have soared. Mr Odent also believes that watching a birth can cause a man to stop feeling a sexual attraction to his wife that could lead to divorce.
But Duncan Fisher, from the pro-father group Dad Info, said that men helped mothers feel relaxed.