Nigerian midwives support womens’ partners as birth partners

fathers as birth partners

A survey of 100 midwives in the capital city of Nigeria, Abuja, found strong support for women’s partners being birth partners. 91 midwives said they approve of partner presence, 15 specifying, however, that it is conditional on privacy being guaranteed. 90 of the midwives believed that partner presence can help to relieve pain through emotional and physical support. Some mentioned other positive benefits, such as psychological support for the mother, helping to create a relaxing environment for her and loving her.

Fewer midwives (84) actually allow the woman’s partner to be a birth partner, despite these benefits. The reasons 16 said they did not allow it were religious/cultural constraints and the absence of adequate infrastructure for it, for example, the lack of privacy.

In Nigeria, midwives rely on non-pharmacological interventions to manage pain; pain relief medicine is not widely available. Partner presence, which other research has shown can help with pain in some cases, is, therefore, a viable pain management tool for Nigeria.

The researchers recommend that the barriers in Nigeria to partner presence should be investigated more thoroughly.


Emelonye AU, Vehviläinen-Julkunen K, Pitkäaho T & Aregbesola A (2017), Midwives perceptions of partner presence in childbirth pain alleviation in Nigeria hospitals, Midwifery 48

Photo: Soki Briggs. Creative Commons.