Women and Birth (2011) 24, 129—136
a v a i l a b l e a t w w w. s c i e n c e d i r e c t . c o m
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/wombi
Fathers’ birth experience in relation to
Ingegerd Hildingsson a,b,*, Linnea Cederlof b, Sara Widen b
Department of Health Science, Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
Received 6 August 2010; received in revised form 15 December 2010; accepted 15 December 2010
Abstract The aim was to identify the proportion of fathers having a positive experience of a normal birth and to explore factors related to midwifery care that were associated with a positive experience.
Background: Research has mainly focused on the father’s supportive role during childbirth rather than his personal experiences of birth.
Methods: 595 new fathers living in a northern part of Sweden, whose partner had a normal birth, were included in the study. Data was collected by questionnaires. Odds Ratios with 95% conﬁdence interval and logistic regression analysis were used. Results: The majority of fathers (82%) reported a positive birth experience. The strongest factors associated with a positive birth experience were midwife support (OR 4.0; 95 CI 2.0—8.1), the midwife’s ongoing presence in the delivery room (OR 2.0; 1.1—3.9), and information about the progress of labour (OR 3.1; 1.6—5.8).
Conclusion: Most fathers had a positive birth experience. Midwifery support, the midwife’s presence and sufﬁcient information about the progress of labour are important aspects in a father’s positive birth experience. The role of the midwife during birth is important to the father, and his individual needs should be considered in order to enhance a positive birth experience. # 2010 Australian College of Midwives. Published by Elsevier Australia (a division of Reed International Books Australia Pty Ltd). All rights reserved.
The traditional role of a father in Western societies has been described as that of the breadwinner. From the 1960s, when
* Corresponding author at: Department of Health Science, Mid Sweden University, Holmgatan 10, SE-85170 Sundsvall, Sweden. Tel.: +46 70 5941982.
E-mail address: Ingegerd.email@example.com (I. Hildingsson).
men ﬁrst started to attend labour and birth in Western
societies, there was strong opposition to involving fathers
during labour; the general opinion was that men could spread infections. In some places it was considered barbaric for a
man to view a birth and it was believed that such a sight could lead to sexual inhibitions. Fathers were considered a nuisance, and it was thought that their presence would interfere with the care or they might faint . Women’s support during labour was usually provided by another close woman friend
or relative [2,3]. It was later realized that fathers had a
strong desire to share the experience with their partner. The
1871-5192/$ — see front matter # 2010 Australian College of Midwives. Published by Elsevier Australia (a division of Reed International Books Australia Pty Ltd). All rights reserved.
presence of fathers reinforced the feeling of the joint decision to form a family. Women who had their partners with them experienced less pain, needed less pain relief, and had a better experience of childbirth [1,2].
Since the 1970s, fathers have been encouraged to participate in parental education classes in Sweden, attend the birth, and bond with the child at an early stage [4,5]. Midwives encourage fathers to participate in antenatal care, childbirth, and postpartum care. Since the 1980s, parent
education has been part of antenatal health services .
Research on the fathers’ feelings, perspectives, motivations and expectations began to appear in the mid-1980s ;...
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