Playing Second Fiddle Is Okay–Swedish Fathers' Experiences of Prenatal Care

Authors

  • Emily Bogren Jungmarker RNM,

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    • Emily Bogren Jungmarker, RNM, is a Clinical Midwife with the School of Health and Social Sciences, Dalarna University, Sweden, and Uppsala University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden.

  • Helena Lindgren RNM, PhD,

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    • Helena Lindgren, RNM, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer with the School of Health and Social Sciences, Dalarna University, Sweden, and Division for Reproductive and Perinatal Health, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

  • Ingegerd Hildingsson RNM, PhD

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    • Ingegerd Hildingsson, RNM, PhD, Associate Professor, is with the Department of Health Sciences, Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden, and Division for Reproductive and Perinatal Health, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


Address correspondence to Ingegerd Hildingsson, RNM, PhD, Associate Professor, Mid Sweden University, Universitetsallén 26, SE 85170 Sundsvall, Sweden. ingegerd.hildingsson@miun.se

Abstract

Introduction: In Sweden, prospective fathers are encouraged and welcome to attend prenatal visits, and pregnant women assess their partners' involvement in prenatal care as very important. The aim of this study was to describe expectant fathers' experiences of and involvement in prenatal care in Sweden.

Methods: Data were drawn from a 1-year cohort study of 827 Swedish-speaking fathers recruited during their partners' midpregnancy and followed up 2 months after childbirth.

Results: The participants reported that the most important issues in prenatal care were the woman's physical and emotional well-being and the support she received from her midwife. However, care was identified as deficient in nearly all aspects of information, medical care, and fathers' involvement. “Excessive” care was also reported and related to how the father was treated by the midwife, mainly in terms of attention to his emotional well-being.

Discussion: Although fathers prioritize the needs of their pregnant partners, it is important for caregivers to assess fathers' needs and incorporate a family-oriented approach to prenatal care.

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