He also believes it makes the labour longer and more painful because the woman is distracted by the father’s anxiety.

Delivering children would be much simpler if women were left alone in the care of their midwife, he claims.

‘The ideal birth environment involves no men in general,’ he said yesterday. ‘Having been involved for more than 50 years in childbirths in homes and hospitals in France, England and Africa, the best environment I know for an easy birth is when there is nobody around the woman in labour apart from a silent, low-profile and experienced midwife.