15 MAY 1964, Page 13

was surprised, and not a little alarmed, to read Alan

Brien's dangerous advocacy of Natural Fatherhood in your columns last week. While medical advances in paternity care have, it IS true, emerged in recent years, any experienced GP or midwife of the old school will admit that grave physical risks are still involved in the labour and puerperium of a primipapa.

Analgesics and stimulants (say, television and brandy) should never be denied a man in labour. In fact, I advocate heavy sedation along these lines.

It is all very well for these progressives to encourage men to believe that having a baby is a totally happy event. Can they explain the experience of my own husband? Although prepared by 'experts' for fatherhood, and the ten days' lonely activity that follows it, he was found, only two days after the birth, toasting his socks under the grill.

Not, poor man, in an attempt to cat them. No, he had none clean to wear and had panicked, as a young father will, into laundering his own clothes. He did not realise that even nylon socks take longer than five minutes to dry, At least Mr. Brien does not subscribe to the latest doctrine which encourages wives to stay with their husbands during labour. A mother has. of course, an important part to play in the birth of the baby, but her husband needs at least ten hours' rest before she is allowed to see him. Even then, he is best protected from her germs by a large bouquet.

I suppose you will get a lot of impressionable, pregnant men writing in to inquire about Mr. Brien's pre-natal V.:lining: where he learned to relax so well, etc.

This childbirth without fear is all very well for the cranks. In future let the radical press promote such 'advances.'

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