Katie Couric's Notebook: Being There

Remember how maternity wards were portrayed back in the old days?

Nervous men pacing in the waiting room getting ready to pass out cigars.

These days, you'll find most men in the delivery room -- one hand on their partner's shoulder, the other hand gripping a cam-corder.

But now, a leading childbirth specialist in Britain says it's time for the men to go back outside.

Michel Odent tells The Observer newspaper that birthing should be a low-profile affair.

No husband. And ..no doctor. Just the mother and an experienced midwife.

He says the presence of a male partner causes added stress for the mother -- leading to longer labor and more births by caesarean section.

His assertions have met with criticism from professionals AND parents in Britain.

Here in the U.S., the average labor lasts about eight hours.

That's a long day at work for mom and if dad wants to be there too, that's nobody's business but their own.

That's a page from my notebook.
I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.