FRIDAY, March 4 (HealthDay News)-- Men need more support before
and after their child is born, new research suggests.
Although men interviewed said they were happy to attend
childbirth classes for their partner's sake, some were ignored when
they asked the midwife questions and did not have a ready outlet
for their own fears and concerns, the study found.
Swedish men interviewed for a University of Gothenburg thesis by
midwife Asa Premberg said they believed it was only natural for the
focus to be on their pregnant partners, but some did find their
secondary role in childbirth classes made it harder for them to
transition into fatherhood.
"Some dads said that they'd ask the midwife questions only for the midwife to direct her answers to the mum," Premberg said in a university news release. "It's important that men, too, have an opportunity to talk about their fears and ask the midwife questions if they're to feel it's worth taking part" in childbirth classes.
She added that men "seem to have other sources of information
ahead of childbirth, such as their workmates or relatives."
The thesis also found that men's roles during childbirth involve
supporting their partner and ensuring that she is not disturbed or
caused unnecessary worry, while at the same time trying to conceal
their own frustrations and concerns. Men's involvement in the
delivery room is complicated by their partner's pain, fear of the
unknown and ideas about masculinity.
The study found that during the first year of fatherhood, men
worked hard to build their relationship with the baby. It was also
important to them to master their new role of being a father,
preserving their own sense of self, and being able to take care of
the baby on their own.
"There's a need for support aimed specifically at men both before and after childbirth. This will benefit not only the man himself, but also the whole family," Premberg concluded.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists offers a
father's guide to pregnancy.