Any mum will tell you that childbirth is difficult, but dads can be equally traumatised by the birthing process, new research has claimed.
An Oxford University study found that complicated pregnancies can have a big impact on fathers as well as mothers, with some new dads so deeply affected they are being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, the Daily Mail reports.
Researchers interviewed men about their experiences after their partner experienced complications during birth.
Most men admitted they felt excluded from the experience, unable to talk about their feelings for fear of taking attention from the mother and baby, and many reporting being left alone in hospital corridors with no clue of what was happening.
The findings have prompted calls for hospitals to pay more attention to partners of women in the maternity ward and to offer counselling services.
One man interviewed as part of the study, 43-year-old Mark Booth told researchers he was "just put in a corner" while his wife went through a very difficult birth.
He said he was overcome with severe anxiety because there was "nobody there to explain the process", and still has flashbacks to an image of seeing a placenta lying on a table six years on.
"I didn't know what it was," he told the Independent on Sunday.
"That was the most traumatic moment for me because I didn't know if the baby was dead or alive, and then two nurses came out with an empty incubator, but didn't speak to me."
Another couple involved in the study told of how their physical and mental health still suffer seven years after a complication birth.
"It was such a traumatic experience," said the mother, Susan.
"My husband Darren had a nervous breakdown a number of weeks later and suffered from PTSD.
"It's taken five years for him to come out of that and he has never returned to work."
Professor Marian Knight, who led the research, said it was important that men be afforded more consideration in the delivery room.
"The mums are severely ill and need lots of care. And while everyone is running around looking after mum, it can affect dads too," she said.
"For the dads, it's extremely vivid because they are fully aware of what's going on.
"Often, we're running around trying to save mum's life, but we need to be thinking about dads as well."