Using fathers’ first-hand accounts from letters, journals, and personal interviews along with hospital records and medical literature, Judith Walzer Leavitt offers a new perspective on the changing role of expectant fathers from the 1940s to the 1980s. She shows how, as men moved first from the hospital waiting room to the labor room in the 1960s, and then on to the delivery and birthing rooms in the 1970s and 1980s, they became progressively more involved in the birth experience and their influence over events expanded. With careful attention to power and privilege, Leavitt charts not only the increasing involvement of fathers, but also medical inequalities, the impact of race and class, and the evolution of hospital policies. Illustrated with more than seventy images from TV, films, and magazines, this book provides important new insights into childbirth in modern America, even as it reminds readers of their own experiences.
Leavitt, J. W. Make Room for Daddy: The Journey from Waiting Room to Birthing Room. University of North Carolina Press, 2009.