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The Surprising New Childbirth Trend

Photographed by Grace Willis.
Giving birth is probably one of the most raw and unfiltered experiences most women will ever go through. You can take your makeup bag to hospital and even apply a full face of slap during labour, but you can't hide the guttural screams, or the blood, unidentified discharge and 8lb human flying out of your vagina.

The intimacy of the experience means deciding who gets to be present during childbirth can get political.

While some women no longer have a relationship with the baby's father, others just don't want him there, instead asking a friend or family member to attend their labour.

According to new research, just under a quarter (24%) of British expectant mothers are planning on having their best friend with them during childbirth, instead of the child’s father; 19% said they’d asked their mums to be in the room for their grandchild’s birth.

The survey, by Voucher Codes Pro, questioned 1,756 pregnant women aged over 18 about their planned birth and personal situation.

Even women who aren't pregnant have considered inviting their BFF to witness the pivotal moment. "I'd love to have my best friend by my side when giving birth. I think about it a lot," one 26-year-old woman told Refinery29.

"She'd be a calming presence and there's just something more biologically in tune with the birthing process about having a woman who's known you your whole life stand by you. I know she'll be with me throughout the entirety of my pregnancy. As much as I'd like my partner there to share it, I'd want her to be there too."

More than two thirds (67%) said the presence of the father during childbirth isn't necessary, and more than a fifth (22%) weren't planning on having the father present during their own labour.

The reasons behind this were personal and varied, the most common being the woman wasn't "on good terms" with the father (31%).

A quarter said they didn't want their partner to find them unattractive after the birth, while others said the father is "squeamish/scared of blood", or that they would just prefer someone else to be there (fair enough).

But this won't be the right decision for everyone. 90% of expectant fathers are present during the birth of their child, the BBC reported. And people are apparently increasingly getting the whole family involved with the labour.

Just this week, Jools Oliver, wife of celebrity chef Jamie, allowed the couple's eldest daughters, age 14 and 13, to watch the birth of their fifth child. They were even allowed to cut the umbilical cord in what was a "very emotional" moment. Inviting siblings in to the room is a "growing craze", according to the BBC.

The moral of the story is: do what you want. And don't let the politics of pregnancy and childbirth get you down.