Programmed Cesarean, help please


Have been told that hubby will likely not be allowed to be present for my programmed Cesarean on Thursday and whilst I’ve been trying not to stress, it’s actually really traumatising me.

The hospital uses the ‘there’s too many people who faint’ excuse which is of course total nonsense. I see on internet forums that various excuses are used to keep fathers out of programmed c-sections in French hospitals.

Has anyone managed to successfully argue their way in? Any recent experience would be gratefully received for the best way to try to persuade hospital to allow it.

He should be a part of our experience, meeting our baby for the first time together and I just know I’ll be so much calmer if he’s there.

If other developed nations can manage it almost systematically, why can’t France?? This sort of thing is driving me batty…

You may have noticed medicine is still much more doctor-centred and less patient-centred than in the UK. What kind of anaesthesia’are you having? That may make a difference.

I have no experience of having a caesarean but from my chats with the otherwise excellent obstetrician here I know that birth here is generally very much how the clinic/hospital team want it not how you may want it. (He even said "oh yes we’ll agree to anything but at the decisive moment we’ll do it our way ").

I think the only thing you can do is both of you state, together, and continue to state, and in writing so it is in your dossier, that you insist you are both there for it. Whereabouts are you?

Hi Véronique,

Yes, we have noticed that! Our experience of the medical system has been generally positive - some excellent care mixed with some disastrous experiences.

I’ll be having an epidural - same as I would be for a ‘natural’ birth. The really frustrating thing is that our midwife has told us that hospital staff are treated completely differently and if I were to be a midwife/nurse, there would be no question of OH being excluded. One rule for the insiders, sod everyone else it seems…just so callous at this life-changing moment (without considering the nerves of having surgery awake…).

Trouble is that I had to move from our local level 1 at Gisors (27) - useless! - to the level 3 at Pontoise (95) only a month ago and have had little chance to express anything about preferences (different people for every appointment). My only chance now is that I will be going in for a monitoring session the day before, Wednesday, armed with a list of hospitals that do allow it gleaned from Mum’s forums and hopefully the right persuasive attitude… as long as I can manage not to cry, which seems to be by default setting at the moment!

OK easier to argue with a spinal block. As this is a planned elective caesarian you should be able to get what ypu want, just say “je veux que mon mari soit là, il sera là, c’est comme ça et pas autrement” actually it is better if HE says he wants to be there and doesn’t take no for an answer. He will have to gown up etc but keep him with you all the time, if there comes a moment where he is told to go away/ stay somewhere while you go somewhere he just refuses.
Good luck!


Fighting talk, assertive language, wonderfully positive advice Veronique. Good luck Danielle, husband and child.


Best of luck @Danielle_Robins

I gave birth back in the days of Gas&Air…and according to OH (who was holding my hand) I was as high as a kite and discussing menus…:blush::wink::grin:

Danielle, Is there a medical reason you are having a C-section instead of a vaginal birth? You don’t have to go into details, but I have never understood the need for programmed birth. Babies usually arrive when they are well ‘cooked’, and Hubby can actively participate in that. Programmed C-sections are usually for the convenience of the adults. Forgive my intruding thoughts while you are stressed about this, but perhaps you would be less stressed with a natural birth?

There are loads of entirely valid medical reasons for having what is actually a major abdominal procedure, it isn’t really our business is it; who are any of us not directly concerned to police who gets a caesarean and who doesn’t?
You don’t get a caesarean because it happens to take your fancy, at least not in France. There are other cheaper methods of getting babies out at a particular time to suit adult convenience.

Thanks Véronique - you’re absolutely right, it has not been an easy decision to have invasive abdominal surgery but an entirely necessary one. I underwent major chest surgery in 2015 and it took me over 9 months to recover - not an experience one chooses to repeat.

I have 5 unstable herniated discs, 3 in my lumbar and 2 in the cervical spine. These have left me partially or totally incapacitated regularly for over half my life. In addition to complications from my diabetes, the lowest risk option for baby and I and a future life with a lower chance of me being wheelchair bound is to have the Cesarean.

This is no one’s business but your own. You should not need to justify or explain your reasons for a c-section. I’m amazed that anyone has asked such an intrusive question. I sincerely hope that the hospital will allow your husband to attend and I wish you all the very best.

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Thank you for your support. I agree that I should not need to justify - unfortunately some people need educating that C-sections are not just for people who are ‘too posh to push’!


Best of luck to you both for the birth and after. My experience of a planned caesarean is that you are less distracted by contractions and so can concentrate on vocalising what you want. This is France so it needs to be in writing somewhere but then you and your husband just go for it. Husband politely and you with full force. They’re not going to stop YOU from being there after all !! My husband was there for mine and I seem to remember a sort of cloth screen between my head end and the rest. Whatever happens I hope it’s the start of a beautiful family for you both.

I had two in France… Hubby not allowed and one in Australia where he was… The Dr was the one who fainted in Australia and it delayed the procedure whilst they got someone else scrubbed in… I’m glad neither my baby nor I wasn’t put in danger due to the delay… It must seem now that the birth is the pinacle of everything… But I promise it is just the beginning… hospitals have their policies… And if all goes smoothly they might seem ridiculous but if your husband does faint and your medical history means they are distracted from your and your babies care it would be a pity… good luck… and keep us posted on the special day…

He doesn’t have to see anything and probably won’t even if he wants to, as Danielle is having an ECS with an epidural there will be a screen up (the only way she’ll see anything will be by looking at the reflection in the lights) so anything that keeps her happy is good: that will be his job, basically.

That’s the idea! With any luck, he should be seated at my head behind the screen, looking at me and not see any more than I can, so technically the chance of fainting should be close to zero… plus he’s worked in butcher’s shops for years (he he!)

I know of dozens of people who have had their partners present in this way in the UK, US, Australia and other countries and I can’t find anyone who has a story of a problem so I’m not sure why they use it as so much of an excuse…

The midwife seemed a little more optimistic today that he may be allowed to accompany me but the final decision still rests on the mood of the doctor and anaesthetist tomorrow, so fingers crossed!

Will introduce you all to the newest SFN member as soon as possible. Thanks all again for your support!

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well, here she is, newest SFN member, Lucille Susie Robins, 7lbs (3.1kg) born yesterday at 09h54, with… proud daddy watching on! Very happy and totally smitten, she’s perfect.


absolutely wonderful… congratulations all round… :grinning::grinning::grinning::grinning::grinning::grinning::grinning:

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Congratulations! Beautiful photographs. So pleased your wishes were honoured.

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CONGRATULATIONS!!! Lots of love to all three of you! C&J xxx

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Félicitations! I’m so glad it went how you wanted, congratulations to you and bienvenue Lucille!

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