28/07/2009 07:26 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Top Male Midwife Says More Women Should Suffer Pain In Childbirth

An expert in midwifery says more women should endure the pain of childbirth and fewer pain-relieving drugs should be used.

This expert happens to be a man, which makes his pronouncement all the more irritating...

Dr Denis Walsh, an expert in midwifery, says the agony of labour is good for bonding with the baby.

His claims have prompted an outcry from mothers and other experts. The main reaction seems to be "WHAT WOULD HE KNOW?"

I'd echo these sentiments. Come back and tell me this when you've had a baby, Denis, and then I'll be prepared to listen.

Before I had a baby, I too was full of high-minded ideas about yoga and breathing and natural drug-free childbirth.

But half way through being induced, I was gulping down the gas and air and screaming for an epidural. You just don't know until you're there.

To be fair, Dr Walsh, who's a senior midwife and associate professor in midwifery at Nottingham University, does have some good points to make.

Epidurals come with risks, such as the increased likelihood of other interventions. But the number of mothers-to-be who receive an epidural, general or spinal anaesthetic has soared in the last few years to 36.5%.

Dr Walsh says too many women expect to be able to avoid pain in childbirth altogether.

"A large number of women want to avoid pain. Some just don't fancy the pain [of childbirth]. More women should be prepared to withstand pain," he told the Observer.

"Pain in labour is a purposeful, useful thing, which has quite a number of benefits, such as preparing a mother for the responsibility of nurturing a newborn baby."

I can sort of see his point here. Too many women - and girls - think having a baby is going to be easy.

But there's something deeply annoying about a bloke, ANY bloke, telling me that labour pain is a timeless component of the "rites of passage" transition to motherhood.

I sincerely hope he doesn't use that line on his patients when they're in the delivery suite...

What do you think? Does Dr Walsh have a point? Or do you just want to kick him repeatedly in the crotch...

Source: The Observer