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Study Finds Men Need More Support Before, After Child Birth

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.

More information

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists offers a father's guide to pregnancy.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: University of Gothenburg, news release, Feb. 21, 2011

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