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Perceptions of Barriers to Paternal Presence and Contribution During Childbirth: An Exploratory Study from Syria


Address correspondence to Lubna Abushaikha, RN, PhD, Department of Maternal-Child Health, Faculty of Nursing, The University of Jordan, Amman 11942, Jordan.



The barriers that face fathers during childbirth are an understudied phenomenon. The objective of our study was to explore Syrian parents' perceptions of barriers to paternal presence and contribution during childbirth.


A descriptive phenomenological qualitative approach based on Colaizzi's method was used with a purposive sample of 23 mothers and 14 fathers recruited from a major public maternity hospital in Syria.


In our study, four themes on barriers to paternal presence and contribution during childbirth were found: 1) sociocultural influences and rigidity; 2) being unprepared; 3) unsupportive policies and attitudes; and 4) unfavorable reactions and circumstances.


Common and current sociocultural norms in Syria do not encourage fathers to be present or contribute during childbirth. Therefore, establishing culturally sensitive supportive policies and practices is a vital step toward overcoming these barriers. (BIRTH 40:1 March 2013)